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•cauwEsaiojfa of jut exouss opium-eater, etc^ jcra* 



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KP V-^/ZS" 



JbteNd aeoocdtaig to Aol of CoogreM, in ttM yeir 1858, bj 


In tte a«k*i OfllM of Um Diitriel UMrt of the Pitiriei of MaMMlnifetti. 

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On thb Enockino at i'^bdi Qatb^im Macbrh, . . 9 

Murder, Considsrsd as one or thb Fini Arts, • 17 


Joan of Arc, 81 

The English Mail-Coach, , . ' • • . 125 

the olort ow motion, 125 

THE VISION or SUDDEN DEATH, • . • . 157 

DREAX-rUGUE, . . . . . • • 180 

Dinner, Real, and Reputed, 197 

Orthoqrafbic Mutineers, 243 

SoBTiLiOB ON Behalf of the Glasoow Athenjeux, . 263 

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Fbok my boyisli days I had always 'felt a great 
pejqpLeidty on one point in Macbetii. It was this : the 
knocking at the gate, which sncceeds to the murder of 
Duncan, produced to my feelings an effect for which I 
never could account. The ^ect was, that it reflected 
back upon the murder a peculiar awfulness and a d^pth 
of solemnity ; yet, however obstinately I endeavored 
with my understanding to comprehend this, for many 
years I never could see why it should produce such an 

Here I pause for one moment to exhort the reader 
never to pay any attention to his imderstanding, when 
it stands in opposition to any other fiiculty of his mind. 
The mere understanding, however useful and indispen- 
sable, is ike meanest &culty in ike human mind, and 
the most to be distroA*^ ; and yet the great majority 


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of people trust to nothing else; wliich may do for 
ordinary life, but not for philosophical purposes. Of 
this out of ten thousand instances that I might produce, 
I will cite one. Ask of any person whatsoever, who is 
iK)t previously prepared for the demand by a knowledge 
of perspective, to draw in the rudest way the com- 
monest appearuKe which depends upoa the laws of 
that science ; as, for instance, to represent the efibct of 
two walls standing at right angles to each other, or 
the appearance of the houses on each side of a street, 
as seen by a person looking down the street from one 
extremity. Now, in all cases, unless the person has 
happened to observe in pictures how it is that artists 
produce these effects, he will be utterly unable to make 
the smallest approximation to it. Yet why ? For he 
has actually seen the effect every day of his life. The 
reutm is -« tiiat bo aUoirs his uadcarttanding to orvnr- 
rule his eyes. His understanding, wkkh indudet aa 
intuitiTe knowledge of the laws of viaioB, o«n furaisli 
him with no reason why a line whicdi. is known and can 
be proTed to be a korizimtal line, should not oppe^r a 
honsontal line ; a line t^at made aay angle with the 
pcrp^idieukr, less than a x^i angle, would seem to 
him to indicate that his houses wete all tumbling dowix 
together. Aeooordingly, he makes the line of his houses 
a horizontal line, and faQs, of course, to produce the 
effect demanded. Here, then, is one instance out of 
manyi in which not only tiie understanding is allowed 
to OTeniile the eyes, but where the understandimg k 
poeitiYely allowed to obliterate the eyes^ as it were, for 
net oaly does tiie man believe the evidence of his 
uaderstaading, in opposition to thi^ of his eyes, but^ 
(what is mosiBtioiiB !) the idio4 it not aware tiutt hie 


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ejm arer gwre tudi eTidenoe. Hedoet not know that 
he has aeen (and ^^efore qu^ad hia ooaaciouinefls hat 
not teen) that which he Am teen eyerj daj of hk 

But to letom from this digieaaion, my und^rttaiidiBg 
oonld fniniih no reason why the knocking at the gate 
in Macbeth thonkL produce any effbet diieet or re- 
flected. In fact» my .underatanding said poaitiTcly tiiat 
it ooold not produce any effect. But I knew better ; I 
felt that it did ; and 1 waited and clung to tibe proUem 
mntil further knowledge should enable me to soItc it. 
At lengthy in 1812» Mr. Williams made his dilmt (m 
tiie stage of Ratdiie Highway, 'and executed those 
unparalleled murders whidi have procured for him 
such a bnlliant and undying reputation. On which 
murders, by tiie way» I must observe, that in one 
xespeet they hare had an ill effect, by making the 
txmnoiBseur in mnrder very fastidious in his taste, and 
dissstiwfied by anything that has since been done in 
that line. All other murders look pale by the deep 
camaon of his ; and, as an amateur once said to me 
in a quecvLeus tone, ' There has been absolutely 
nodung doing since his time,, or nothing that's worth 
speaking of.' But this is wrong ; for it is unreasonable 
to expect all men to be great artists, and bom with the 
genius of Mr. Williams. Now it will be remembered, 
that in the first of these murders, (that of the Marts,) 
the same incident (of a knocking at the door, soon after 
the wodi of extermination was complete) did actually 
occur, which the genius of Shakspeare has invented ; 
and all good judges, and the most eminent dilettanti, 
acknowledged the felicity of Shakspeare's suggestion, 
as soon as it was actually realized. Here, then, was a 

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fresh proof that I was right in relying on my own feel* 
ing, in opposition to my understanding ; and I again set 
myself to study the problem ; at length I solved it to 
my own satisfaction ; and my solution is this. Murder, 
in ordinary cases, where the sympathy is wholly di- 
rected to the case of the murdered person, is an incident 
of coarse and vulgar horror ; and for this reason, that 
it flings the interest exdunvely upon the natural but 
ignoble instinct by which we cleave to life; an in- 
stinct, which, as being indispensable to the primal 
law of self-preservation, is the same in kind, (though 
different in degree,) amongst all living creatures ) ibiB 
instinct, therefore, because it annihilates all distinc- 
tions, and degrades the greatest of men to the level of 
< the poor beetle that we tread on,' exhilnts human na- 
ture in its most abject and humiliating attitude. Sudi 
an attitude would little suit the purposes of the poet. 
What then must he do ? He must throw the interest 
on the murderer. Our sympathy must be with bun; 
(of course I mean a sympathy of comprehension, a 
sympathy by which we enter into hk feelings, and are 
made to understand th^n, — not a sympathy^ of pity 
or approbation.) In the murdered penK>n, all s^ife 
of thought, all flux and r^ux oi passion and of pur- 

^ It seems ahnost ludioroua to guard and explain my use of a 
word, in a situalion where it would naturally explain itsel£ 
But it has become necessary to do so, in consequence of the 
unsoholarUke use of the word sympathy, at present so general, 
by which, instead of taking it in its ptopet sense, as the act of 
reproducing in our minds the feelings of another, whether Eat 
hatred, indignation, love, pity, or approbation, it is made a 
mere synonyme of the word pity ; and hence, instead of saying 
* sympathy wiih another,* many writers adopt the monstrous 
btfbarism of < (sympathy /br another.' 

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uA^ownw. 18 

pose, aie eniAed b^ one OTerwhebBing panic; the 
lear of instant deaf& smites liim ^ with ite petrifie mace/ 
But in the murderer, * ludli a murderer aa a poet 
mU condescend to, there must be raging tome great 
•torm of passion, -*- jealousy, ambition, vengeance, 
hatred, *-< which will create* a hell within him ; and 
into this hell we are to look. 

In Macbeth, for &e sake of gratifying his own enor- 
mous and teeming fiumlty of creation, 8hakspeare has 
introduced two murderers ; and, as usual in his hands, 
^kBj are remarkaUj discriminnted : but, though in 
Macbeth the strife of mind is greater than in his wife, 
&e tiger spirit npt so awake, and his feelings caught 
diiefiy by contagion from bar, ^- yet, as both weate 
finally inTolved in the guilt of murder, &e murderous 
mind of necessity k finally to be presumed in hath. 
This was to be expressed ; and on its own account, as 
weH as to make it a more proportionable antagonist to 
the unoffi^nding nature of their victim, ^ the gracious 
Duncan,' and adequately to expound * the deep damna- 
tion of his taking off,' this was to be expressed with 
peculiar energy. We were to be made to feel that the 
human nature, t. e., the divine nature of love and 
mercy, siuread through the hearts of all creaturel, and 
seldom utterly withdrawn from man, — was gone, van* 
ished, extinct ; and that the fiendish nature had taken 
its place. And, as this effect is marvellously aecom- 
plidied in the dtidogues and soliloquies Idiemselves, so 
it is finally consummated by the expedient under con- 
sideration ; and it is to tiiis that I now solicit tiie 
leader's attention. K the reader has ever witnessed a 
wife, daughter, or sister, in a fiaintmg fit, he may chance 
to have observed that the most^edug moment m 

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such a spectacle, is that in which a sigh and a stirring 
announce the recommencement of suspended life. Or, 
if the reader has ever been present in a vast metropolis, 
on the day when some great national idol was carried 
in funeral pomp to his grave, and chancing to walk 
near the course through "which it passed, has felt pow- 
erfully, in the silence and desertion of the streets, and 
in the stagnation of ordinary business, the deep interest 
which at that moment was possessing the heart of num, 
— if all at once he should hear the death-like stillness 
broken up by tiie sound of wheels rattling away from 
tiie scene, and making known that tiie transitory vision 
was dissolved, he will be aware that 9X no moment was 
his sense of tiie complete suspension and pause in 
ordinary human concerns so full and affecting, as at 
that moment when the suspension ceases, and the goings* 
on of human life are suddenly resumed. All action 
in any direction is best expounded, measured, and made 
apprehensible, by reaction. Now apply this to the case 
in Macbeth. Here, as I have said, the retiring of the 
human heart, and the entrance of the fiendish heart, 
was to be expressed and made sensible. Anotiier 
world has stept in ; and the murderers are taken out 
of thd region of human things, human purposes, human 
desires. They are transfigured : Lady Macbeth is 
* unsexed ; ' Macbeth has forgot that he was born of 
woman ; both are conformed to the image of devils ; 
and the world of devils is suddenly revealed. But how 
shall this be conveyed and made palpable ? In order 
that a new world may step in, this world must for a 
time disappear. The murderers, and the murder, must 
be insulated — cut off by an immeasurable gulph from 
the ordinary tide and succession of human affiurs — 

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locked up and sequestered in some deep recess ; we 
must be made sensible that the world of ordinary life 
is suddenly arrested — laid asleep — tranced — racked 
into a dread armistice ; time must be annihilated ; rela- 
tion to things without abolished; and all must pass 
self- withdrawn into a deep syncope and suspension of 
earthly passion. Hence it is, that when the deed is 
done, when the wortc of darkness is perfect, then the 
world of darkness passes away like a pageantry in the 
clouds ; the knocking at the gate is heard ; and it makes 
known audibly that the reaction has commenced : the 
human has made its reflux upon tiie fiendish ; the 
pulses of life are beginning to beat again ; and the re- 
establishment of the goings-on of the world in which 
we live, first makes us profoundly sensible of the awful 
parenthesis that had suspended them. 

O, mighty poet ! Thy works are not as those of 
otiier men, simply and merely great works of art ; but 
are also like the phenomena of nature, like the sun 
and the sea, the stars and the flowers, — like frost and 
snow, rain and dew, hail-storm and thunder, which are 
to be studied with entire submission of our own fac- 
ulties, and in the perfect faith that in them there can 
be no too much or too little, nothing useless or inert, — 
but that, the further we press in our discoveries, the 
more we shall see proofis of design and self-supporting 
arrangement where tiie careless eye had seen nothing 
but accident ! 

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Most of us, who read books, liave probably heard 
of a Society for the Promotion of Vice, of the Hell- 
Fire Club, founded in the last century by Sir Frands 
D , &c. At Brighton I think it was, that a So- 
ciety was formed for the Suppression of Virtue. That 
society was itself suppressed; but I am sorry to say 
that another exists in London, of a character still more 
atrocious. In tendency, it may be denominated a So* 
dety for the Encouragement of Murder ; but, accord- 
ing to their own delicate tv^^^cir/to;, it is styled. The 
Society of Connoisseurs in Murder. They profess tp 
be curious in homicide ; amateurs and dilettanti in the 
various modes of bloodshed ; and, in short, Murder- 
Fanciers. Every fresh atrodty of that dass which the 
police annals of Europe bring up, they meet and criti* 
dze as they would a picture, statue, or other work of 
art. But I need not trouble myself with any attempt 
to describe tiie spirit of their proceedings, as the 
reader will collect that zauch better from one of the 
Monthly Lectures read before the sodety last year. 
This has £idlen into my hands accidentally, in spite of 
2 [17] 

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all the vigilance exercised to keep tlieir transactions 
&om the public eye. The publication of it will alarm 
them; and my purpose is, that it should. For I 
would much rather put them down quietly, by an ap- 
peal to public opinion, than by such an exposure of 
names as would follow an appeal to Bow Street; 
which last appeal, howerer, if this should fail, I must 
really resort to. For my intense virtue will not put 
up with Such things in a Christian land. Even in a 
heathen land, the toleration of murder — viz., in the 
dreadful shows of tk« unphithefttre — • was Mi by a 
Christian writer to be the most crying reproach of the 
public morals. This writer was Lactantius ; and with 
his words, as singularly applicable to the present occa- 
i?lon, I shall conclude: — *Quid tam horribile,' says 
he, ' tam tetrum, quam hominis trucidatio ? Ideo 
severissimis legibus vita nostra munitur; ideo bella 
execrabilia stmt. Invenit tamen consuetudo quatenus 
homicidium sine bello ac sine legibus facial : et hoc 
sibi voluptas quod scelus vindicavit. Quod si interesse 
homicidio sceleris conscientia est, — et eidem facinori 
spectator obstrictus est Cui et admissor ; ergo et in his 
giadiatorum csedibus non minus cruore profunditur 
qui spectat, quam ille qui facit : nee potest esse im- 
munis k sai^uine qui voluit effkndi ; aut videri non 
interfecisse, qui interfbctori et fevit et proemium pos- 
tulavit.' *What is so dreadM,* says Lactantius, 
* what so dismal and revolting, as the murder of a 
human creature ? Therefore it is, that life for us is 
protected by laws ' the most rigorous : therefore it is, 
that wars are objects of execration. And yet the tra- 
ditional usage of Rome has devised a mode of author- 
izing murder apart from war, and in defiance of laW ; 

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and the draaaadf of tuto (toluptas) an now bo6ocM 
tke same as those of abandoned guilt.' Let the 60- 
detj of Gentlemen AmaietGrs consider iAdn ; and lei 
me call their especial attention to tlie last sentence, 
which is so weighty, that I shall attempt to convey it 
in English : ' Now, if merely to be present at a mur- 
der fastens on a man the character of an acc<Hnpl]ee ; 
if barely to be a spectator involyes ns in one common 
gnilt Yfiih tiie perpetmtor, it follows, of necessity, 
that, in these murders of the amphitheatre, tha hand 
which inflicts the fatal blow is not more deeply im« 
bruod in blood than his who passively looks on; 
neitiier can he be dear of blood who has countenanced 
its shedding ; nor that man seem other than a participa- 
tor in murder, who gives his applause to the murderer, 
and calls for prizes on his behalf.' The ^prcemim 
pottukofU* I have not yet heard charged upon ti» 
Gentlemen Amateurs of London, though undoubtedly 
their proceedings tend to that ; but the ' interftctori 
favit ' is implied in the very title of this associaiioii, 
and expressed in every line of ^e lecture which fol- 
lowBk X* T. Z. 


GxHTLBMEK,— *-I havo had t^ honor to be ap- 
pointed by your oomnuttee to the trying task of read* 
ing the Williams' Lecture on Murder, considered as 
one of the Fine Arts; a task which might be easy 
enough three or four centuriea ago, when the art was 
lifttia understood, and few great models had be^n ex- 
hibited; but in this age, when nuaterpteces of exosl* 
Isnee hate been ^Mooted by {Krofbssiooal man* U in«si 

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be evident, tiiat in tiie style of critieism applied to 
them, the public will look for something of a corres* 
ponding improvement. Practice and theory must 
advance pari pa$9U. People begin to see that some- 
thing more goes to the composition of a fine murder 
than two blockheads to kill and be killed — a knife — 
a purse — and a dark lane. Design, gentlemen, 
grouping, light and shade, poetry, sentiment, are now 
deemed indispensable to attempts of this nature. Mr. 
Williams has exalted the ideal of murder to all of us ;^ 
and to me, therefore, in particular, has deepened the 
arduousness of my task. Like JBschylus or Milton in 
poetry, like Michael Angelo in painting, he has carried 
his art to a point of colossal sublimity ; and, as Mr. 
Wordsworth observes, has in a manner ' created the 
taste by which he is to be enjoyed.' To sketch the 
history of the art, and to examine its principles criti- 
cally, now remains as a duty for the connoisseur, and 
for judges of quite another stamp from his Majesty's 
Judges of Assize. 

Before I begin, let me say a word or two to certain 
prigs, who affect to speak of 'our society as if it were 
in some degree immoral in its tendency. Immoral! 
Jupiter protect me, gentlemen, what is it that people 
mean ? I am for morality, and always shall be, and 
for virtue, and all that ; and I do affirm, and always 
shall (let what will come of it), that murder is an im- 
p*6per line of conduct, highly improper; and I do 
not stick to assert, that any man who deals in murder, 
must have very incorrect ways of thinking, and truly 
inaccurate principles; and so far from aiding and 
abetting him by pointing out his victim's hiding-place, 
at a great moralist ^ of Gtermany declared it to be evary 

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mrmosB. 21 

good man's duty to do, I troidd subioribe oae^hilliBf 
and sixpoice to liaye him apprehended, wlikh is more 
by eighteenpence than the most eminent moralists have 
hi&erto subscribed for that purpose. But what then ? 
Bverything in this world has two handles. Murder^ 
for instance, may be laid hold of by its moral handle 
(as it generally is in the pulpit, and at the Old Bailey ) ; 
and thaty I confess, is its weak side ; or it may also bo 
treated asthttically^ as the Germans call it «— that is, in 
relation to good taste. 

To illustrate this, I will urge the authority of three 
emment persons ; viz., 8. T* Coleridge, Aristotle, and 
Mr. Howship tiie surgeon. To begin with 8. T. C« 
One night, many years ago, I was drinking tea with 
him in Bemers Street (which, by the way, for a short 
street, has been uncommonly fruilM in men of genius). 
Others were tiiere besides myself; and, amidst some 
carnal considerations of tea and toast, we were all im« 
bibing a dissertation on Plotinus from the attic lips of 
8. T, C. Suddenly a cry arose of; " Fire ^firt ! " 
upon which all of us, master and disciples, Plato* and 
^ n»^i XV9 nxiermfa^ rushed out, eager for the spectacle. 
The fire was in Oxford Street, at a pianoforte-maker's ; 
ai^, as it promised to be a conflagration of merit, 
I was sorry that my engagements forced me away from 
Mr. Coleridge's party, before matters had come to a 
crisis* Some days after, meeting with my Platonic 
host, I reminded him of the case, and begged to know 
how that very poromisiag exhibition had terminated. 
<0h, sir,' said he, «it turned out so ill that we 
damned it unammously.' Now, does any man sup- 
pose that Mr. Coleridge — who, for all he is too £ikt to 
be a person of active virtue, is undoubtedly a worthy 

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22 xuBDxm. 

Christian — that this good S. T. C, I say, was an in- 
cendiary, or capable of wishing any ill to the poor man 
and his pianofortes (many of tiiem, doubtless, witii the 
additional keys) ? On the contrary, I know him to be 
that sort of man, that I durst stake my life upon it, he 
would bave worked an engine in a case of necessity, 
although rather of the Attest for such fiery trials 
of his virtue. But bow stood the case ? Virtue 
was in no request. On the arrival of the fire-engines, 
morality had devolved wholly on the insurance office. 
This being the case, he had a right to gratify his 
taste. He bad left his tea. Was be to have nothing 
in return? 

I contend that the most virtuous man, under the 
premises stated, was entitled to make a luxury of the 
fire, and to hiss it, as be would any other performance 
tbat raised expectaticms in the public mind wbidi after- 
wards it disappointed. Again, to cite ano&er great 
authority, what says tbe Stagirite ? He (in the Fif& 
Book, I think it is, of his Metaphysics) describes what 
he calls xXtxcrip riXttop — i. c, a perfect thief; and as 
to Mr. Howship, in a work of his on Indigestion, be 
makes no scruple to talk witb admiration of a certain 
idcer whicb he bad seen, and which be styles * a beau- 
tiful ulcer.' Now, will any man pret^id, that, ab- 
stractedly considered, a thief could appear to Aris- 
totle a perfect character, or that Mr. Howship could 
be enamored of an ulcer ? Aristotle, it is well 
known, was himself so very moral a character, that, 
not content witb writing his Nicbomacbean Ethics, in 
one volume octavo, be also wrote another system, 
called Magna Moralia, or Big Ethics. Now, it is im- 
possible that a man who composes any ethics at all. 

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big or little, should admire a tiiief |>er se ; and as to 
Mr. Howship, it well known that he makes war upon 
all ulcers, and, without suffering himself to be seduced 
hj their charms, endeavors to banish them from the 
County of Middlesex. But the truth is, that, hqw- 
ever objectionable per w, yet, relatively to others of 
their class, both a thief and an ulcer may have infinite 
degrees of merit. They are both imperfections, it is 
true ; but, to be imperfect being their essence, the very 
greatness of tiieir imperfection becomes their perfec- 
tion. Spartam nactu* es, hanc exoma, A thief like 
Autolycus, or tiie once &mous George Barrington, and 
a grim phagedsenic idcer, superbly defined, and running 
regularly through all its natural stages, may no less 
justly be regarded as ideals after their kind, than the 
most faultless moss-rose amongst flowers, in its progress 
from bud to ' bright consummate flower ; ' or, amongst 
human flowers, tiie most magnificent young female, 
apparelled in the pomp of womanhood. And thus not 
only the ideal of an inkstand may be imagined (as Mr. 
Coleridge illustrated in his celebrated correspondence 
with Mr. Blackwood), in which, by the way, there is 
not so much, because an inkstand is a laudable 
sort of thing, and a valuable member of society; 
but even imperfection itself may have its ideal or per- 
fect state. 

Really, gentlemen, I beg pardon for so much philo- 
sophy at one time ; and now let me apply it. When 
a murder is in the paulo-post-futurum tense — not 
done, not even (according to modem purism) being 
done, but only going to be done — and a rumor of it 
comes to our ears, by all means let us treat it morally. 
But suppose it over and done, and that you can say a£ 

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S4 uvMjmn' 

it, T^riu^ai, It is finished, ox (in that sukmaBtme msh 
luBsus of Medea) •tYOfai, Dona it is : it is fait accom^ 
pli ; suppose the poor murdered man to be out of his 
pain, and the rascal that did it off like a shot, nobody 
knows whither; suppose, lastly, that we have done 
our best, by putting out our legs, to trip up the fellow 
in his flight, but all to no purpose -^ ' abiit, evasit, 
excessit, erupit,'' &c.-'^ why, then, I say, what's the use 
of any more Tirtue ? Enough haa been given to mO" 
xality ; now comes the turn of Taste and the Fine Arts« 
A sad thing it was, no doubt, very sad ; but we can't 
mend it. Therefore let us make the best of a bad mat^ 
t^ ; and, as it is impossible to hanuner anything out 
of it for moral purposes, let us treat it aostheticallyt 
and see if it will turn to account in tibat way. 8uoh 
u the logic of a s^udble man, and what follows } We 
dry up our tears, and have the satisfaction, perhaps, tQ 
discover that a transaction, which, morally considered* 
was shocking, and without a leg to stand upon, when 
tried by principles of Taste, turns out to be a very 
BieritoriouB performance. Thus all the world is pleased; 
Hkt old proverb is justified, that it is an iU wind which 
blows nobody good ; the amateur, from looking bilious 
and sulky, by too close attention to vi^e, begins to 
^k up his crumbs; and g^eral hilarity prevails* 
Virtue has had her day ; and henceforward, Viriu^ so 
nearly the same thing as to differ only by a single letter 
«-* (which surely is not worth haggling or higgling 
ibout) — Virtu^ I repeat, and Connoisseurship, have 
leave to provide for themselves. Upon this principle, 
gentlemen I propose to guide your studies, from Cain tQ 
Mr. Thurtell. Through this great gallery of murder, 
therefore, together let us wander hand in hand, in de- 

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lighted admiration; while I endeavor to point your 
attention to the objects of profitable criticism. 

The first murder is familiar to you all. As the in- 
ventor of murder, and the father of the art, Cain must 
have been a man of first-rate genius. All the Cains 
were men of genius. Tubal Cain invented tubes, I 
think, or some such thing. But, whatever might be 
the originality and genius of the artist, every art was 
then in its infancy, and the works must be criticized 
with a recollection of that fact. Even Tubal's work 
would probably be little approved at this day in Shef- 
field ; and therefore of Cain (Cain senior, I mean) it is 
no disparagement to say, that his performance was but 
so-so. Milton, however, is supposed to have thought 
differently. By his way of relating the case, it should 
seem to have been rather a pet murder with him. for 
he retouches it with an apparent anxiety for its pictur- 
esque effect : — 

* Whereat he inly raged; and, as they talk'd. 
Smote him into the midriff T^ith a stone 
That beat oat life : he fell; and, deadly pale, 
Groan*d out his soul with gushing blood effused,' 

Par. Lost, B. xi. 

Upon this, Richardson the painter, who had an eye 
for effect, remarks as follows, in his ' Notes on Para- 
dise Lost,' p. 497 : — 'It has been thought,' says he, 
* that Cain beat (as the common saying is) the breath 
out of his brother's body with a great stone ; Milton 
gives in to this, with the addition, however, of a large 
wound.' In this place it was a judicious addition ; 
for the rudeness of the weapon, imless raised and en- 
riched by a warm, sanguinary coloring, has too much 

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86 MUBDBm. 

of ihe naked air of tKe savage ftcliool ; as if the deed 
were perpetrated by a Polypheme without science, pre* 
meditation, or anything hut a mutton hone. How- 
erer, I am chiefly pleased with the improvement, as it 
implies that Milton was an amateur. As to Shak- 
speare, there never was a better ; witness his descrip- 
tion of the murdered Duncan, Banquo, &c. ; and, 
above all, witness his incomparable miniature, in 
♦ Henry VI.,* of the murdered Gloucester.^ 

The foundation of the art having been once laid, it 
is {ntiable to see how it slumbered without improve- 
ment for ages. In fact, I shall now be obliged to leap 
over all murders, sacred, and profane, as utterly un- 
worthy of notice, until long after the Christian era. 
Greece, even in the age of Pericles, produced no mur- 
der, or at least none is recorded, of the slightest merit ; 
and Rome had too little originality of genius in any of 
the arts to succeed where her model failed her.' In 
fact, the Latin language sinks under the very idea of « 
murder. ' The man was murdered ; * — how will this 
sound in Latin? hUerfectus est^ interemptus est — 
which simply expresses a homicide; and hence the 
Christian Latinity of the middle ages was obliged to 
introduce a new word, such as the feebleness of classic 
conceptions never ascended to. Murdratus est, says 
the sublimer dialect of the Gothic ages. Meantime, the 
Jewish school of murder kept alive whatever was yet 
known in the art, and gradually transferred it to the 
Western "World, Indeed, the Jewish school was al- 
ways respectable, even in its medieval stagos, as the 
case of Hugh of Lincoln shows, which was honored 
with the approbation of Chaucer, on occasion of anothM* 
peiibrmance from the same school, which he puts uiKO 
the mouth of the Lady Abbess. 

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Beearrmg, Iioweyer, for one moment, to clafisical 
antiquity, I cannot but think that Catiline, Clodius, 
and some of that coterie, would have made first-rate 
artists ; and it is on all accounts to be regretted, thai 
the priggism of Cicero robbed his country of the only 
chance she had for distinction in this line. As the 
subject of a murder, no person could have answered 
better than himself. Oh Gemini ! how he would have 
howled with panic, if he had heard Cethegus under hk 
bed. It would have been truly diverging to have lis- 
tened to him ; and satisfied I am> gentlemen, that he 
would have preferred the utile of creeping into a closet, 
or even into a cloaca^ to the honestum of facing the bold 

To come now to the dark ages — (by which we that 
speak with precision mean, par excellence^ the tenth 
century as a meridian line, and the two centuries im" 
mediately before and after, full midnight being from 
A. D. 888 to A. D. 1111) — these ages ought naturally 
to be favorable to the art of murder, as they were to 
church architecture, to stained • glass, &c. ; and, ae- 
oordingly, about the latter end of this period, there 
arose a great character in our art, I mean the Old Man 
of the Mountains. He was a shining light, indeed* 
and I need not tell you, that the very word * assassin ' 
is deduced from him. So keen an amateur was he, 
iiiat on one occasion, when his own life was attempted 
by a favorite assassin, he was so much pleased with the 
talent shown, that, notwithstanding the failure of the 
artist, he created him a duke upon the spot, with re- 
mainder to the female line, and settled a pension on 
kim for three lives. Assassination is a branch of the 
«rt which demancb a separate notice ; and it is possihb 

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that I may devote an entire lecture to it. Meantime, 
I shall only observe how odd it is, that this branch of 
the art has flourished by intermitting fits. It never 
rains, but it pours. Our own age can boast of some 
fine specimens, such, for instance, as Bellingham's 
affair with the prime minister Percival, the 
Berri's case at the Parisian Opera House, the Mar6- 
chal Bessieres' case at Avignon ; and about two and a 
half centuries ago, there was a most brilliant constella- 
tion of murders in this class. I need hardly say, that 
I allude especially to those seven splendid works — 
the assassinations of William I., of Orange ; of the 
three French Henries, viz., — Henri, Duke of Guise, 
that had a fancy for the throne of France ; of Henry III., 
last prince in the line of Yalois, who then occupied 
that throne ; and finally of Henri IV., his brother-in- 
law, who succeeded to that throne as first prince in the 
line of Bourbon ; not eighteen years later came the 
6th on that roll, viz., that of our Duke of Buckingham, 
(which you will find excellently described in the letters 
published by Sir Henry Ellis, of the British Museum), 
6thly, of Gustavus Adolphus, and 7thly, of Wallen- 
etein. What a glorious Pleiad of murders ! And it 
increases one's admiration — that this bright constella- 
tion of artistic displays, comprehending 3 Majesties, 3 
Serene Highnesses, and 1 Excellency, all lay within so 
narrow a field of time as between ▲. d. 1588 and 1635. 
The King of Sweden's assassination, by the by, is 
doubted by many writers, Harte amongst others ; but 
they are wrong. He was murdered ; and I consider 
his murder unique in its excellence ; for he was mur- 
dered at noon-day, and on the field of battle — a fea- 
ture of original conception, which occurs in no other 

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work of art that I remember. To conceive the idea of 
a secret murder on private account, as enclosed within 
a little parenthesis on a vast stage of public battle- 
carnage, is like Hamlet's subtle device of a tragedy 
within a tragedy. Indeed, all of these assassinations 
may be studied with profit by the advanced connois- 
seur. They are all of them exemplaria model murders, 
pattern murders, of which one may say, — 

* Noctum^ yersate mana, versate diorna ; ' 

especially noctumd. 

In these assassinations of princes and statesmen, 
there is nothing to excite our wonder; important 
changes often depend on their deaths ; and, from the 
eminence on which they stand, they are peculiarly ex- 
posed to the aim of every artist who happens to be 
possessed by the craving for scenical effect. But there 
is another class of assassinations, which has prevailed 
from an early period of the seventeenth century, that 
really does surprise me : I mean^the assassination of 
philosophers. For, gentlemen, it is a fact, that every 
philosopher of eminence for the two last centuries has 
either been murdered, or, at the least, been very near 
it ; insomuch, that if a man calls himself a philosopher, 
and never had his life* attempted, rest assured there is 
nothing in him ; and against Locke's philosophy in 
particular, I think it an unanswerable objection (if we 
needed any), that, although he carried his throat about 
with him in this world for seventy-two years, no man 
ever condescended to cut it. As these cases of philos- 
ophers are not much known, and are generally good 
and well composed in their circumstances, I shall here 
read an excursus on that subject, chiefly by way of 
showing my own learning. 

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ao MirmDSs. 

The first great philosopher of the sereiiteenth cen- 
tury (if we except Bacon and Galileo) was Des Car- 
tes ; and if eyer one could saj of a man that he was 
all btd murdered — murdered within an inch — one 
must say it of him. The case' was this, as reported 
by Baillet in his ' Vie De M. Des Cartes,' torn. I. p. 
102-3. In the year 1621, when Des Cartes might 
be about twenty-six years old, he was touring about 
as usual (for he was as restless as a hyena) ; and, 
coming to the Elbe, either at Gluckstadt or at Ham- 
burg, he took shipping for East Friezland. What 
he could want in East Friezland no man has ever dis- 
covered ; and perhaps he took this into consideration 
himself; for, on reaching Embden, he tesolved to sail 
instantly for West Friezland ; and being yery impa- 
tient of delay, he hired a bark, with a few mariners to 
navigate it. No sooner had he got out to sea, than he. 
made a pleasing discovery, viz., that he had shut him- 
self up in a den of murderers. His crew, says M. 
Baillet, he soon found out to be ' des scelerats ' — 
not amateursj gentlemen, as we are, but professional 
men — the height of whose ambition at that moment 
was to cut his individual throat. But the story is too 
pleasing to be abridged; I shall give it, therefore, 
accurately, from the French of his biographer : " M. 
Des Cartes had no company but that of his servant, 
with whom he was conversing in French. The sailors, 
who took him for a foreign merchant, rath'er than a 
cavalier, concluded that he must have money about 
him. Accordingly, they came to a resolution by no 
means advantageous to his purse. There is this dif- 
ference, however, between sea-robbers and the robbers 
in forests, that the latter may, without hazard, spare 

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the lives of their victiins ; whereas the others cannot 
put a passenger on shore in such a case without run- 
ning the risk of being apprehended. The crew of M. 
Des Cartes arranged their measures with a view to 
evade any danger of that sort. They observed that 
he was a stranger from a distance, without acquaint- 
ance in the country, and that nobody would take any 
tirouble to inquire about him, in case he should never 
come to hand {quand U viendroit d manquer).* Think, 
gentlemen, of these Friezland dogs discussing a phi- 
losopher as if he were a puncheon of rum consigned to 
some ship-broker. ' His temper, they remarked, was 
very mild and patient ; and, judging from the gentle- 
ness of his depprtment, and the courtesy with which 
he treated themselves, that he could be nothing more 
than some green young man, without station or root 
in the world, they concluded that they should have all 
the easier task in disposing of his life. They made 
no scruple to discuss the whole matter in his presence, 
as not supposing that he understood any other lan- 
guage than that in which he conversed with his ser- 
vant ; and the amount of their deliberation was — to 
murder lum, then to throw him. into the sea, and to 
divide his spoils.' 

Excuse my laughing, gentlemen ; but the fact is, I 
always do laugh when I think of this case — two 
things about it seem so droll. One is, the horrid 
panic or ' funk ' (as the men of Eton call it) in which 
Des Cartes must have found himself, upon hearing 
this regular drama sketched for Jiis own death — 
funeral — succession and administration to his effects. 
But another thing which seems to me still more funny 
about this affair is, that if these Friezland hoimds haX 

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82 MtrsDXB. 

been 'game/ we shoidd have no Cartesian pldloso- 
phy ; and how we could haye done without that, con- 
sidering the world of books it has produced, I leave 
to any respectable trunk-maker to declare. 

However, to go on: spite of his enormous funk, 
Des Cartes showed fight, and by that means awed 
these Anti-Cartesian rascals. * Finding,' says M. 
Baillet, ' that the matter was no joke, M. Des Cartes 
leaped upon his feet in a trice, assumed a stem coun- 
tenance that these cravens had never looked for, and, 
addressing them in their own language, threatened to 
run them through on the spot if they dared to give 
him any insult.' Certainly, gentlemen, this would 
have been an honor far above the merits of such in- 
considerable rascals — to be spitted like larks upon a 
Cartesian sword ; and therefore I am glad M. Des 
Cartes did not rob the gallows by executing his threat, 
especially as he could not possibly have brought his 
vessel to port, after he had murdered his crew; so 
that he must have continued to cruise for ever in the 
Zuyder Zee, and woidd probably have been mistaken 
by sailors for the Flying Dutchman, homeward bound. 
•The spirit which M. Des Cartes manifested,' says 
his biographer, ^ had the effect of magic on these 
wretches. The suddenness of their consternation 
struck their minds with a confusion which blinded 
them to their advantage, and they conveyed him to his 
destination as peaceably as he could desire.' 

Possibly, gentlemen, you may fancy that, on the 
model of Caesar's address to his poor ferryman — ' C<8- 
sarem vehis et fortunas ejus ' — M. Des Cartes needed 
only to have said, ' D ogs, you cannot cut my throat, 
for you carry Des Cartes and his philosophy,* and 

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might safely have defied them to do their Worst. A 
German emperor had the same notion, when, being 
cautioned to keep out of the way of a cannonading, 
he repKed, ' Tut ! man. Did you ever hear of a cannon- 
ball that killed an emperor ? ' * As to an emperor I 
cannot say, but a less thing has sufficed to smash 
a philosopher ; and the next great philosopher of Eu- 
rope undoubtedly was murdered. This was Spinosa. 

I know very well the common opinion about him is, 
that he died in his bed. Perhaps he did, but he was 
murdered for all that; and this I shall prove by a 
book published at Brussels in the year 1731, entitled 
•La Vie de Spinosa, par M. Jean Colerus,' with 
many additions, from a MS. life, by one of his friends. 
Spinosa died on the 21st February, 1677, being then 
little more than forty-four years old. This, of itself, 
looks suspicious ; and M. Jean admits, that a certain 
expression in the MS. life of him would warrant the 
conclusion, ' que sa mort n'a pas ete-i-fait naturelle.' 
Living in a damp country, and a sailor's country, like 
Holland, he may be thought to have indulged a good 
deal in grog, especially in punch,* which was then 
newly cBscovered. Undoubtedly he might have done 
so ; but the fact is, that he did not. M. Jean calls 
him ' extr^mement sobre en son boire et en son man- 
ger.' And though some wild stories were afloat about 
his using the jidce of mandragora (p. 140) and opium 
(p. 1 44), yet neither of these articles is found in his 
druggist's bill. Living, therefore, with such sobriety, 
how was it possible that he should die a natural death 
at forty-four ? Hear his biographer's account : — ' Sun- 
day morning, the 2l8t of February, before ii was 
duizch time, Spinosa came down stairs, and conversed 

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a4 MtTBDSB. 

with the master and mistress of the house. At tfaii 
time, therefore, perhaps ten o'clock on Sunday mom<* 
ing, you see that Spinosa was alive, and pretty well. 
But it seems ' he had summoned from Amsterdam a 
certain physician, whom,' says the biographer, ' I shall 
not otherwise point out to notice than by these two 
letters, L. M.' This L. M. had directed the people of 
the house to purchase ' an ancient cock,' and to have 
him boiled forthwith, in order that Spinosa might take 
some broth about noon ; which in fact he did ; and ate 
some of the old cock with a good appetite, after the 
landlord and his wife had returned from church. 

' In the afternoon, L. M. staid alone with Spinosa, 
the people of the house having returned to church ; on 
coming out from which, they learned, with much sur- 
prise, that Spinosa had died about three o'clock, in the 
presence of L. M., who took his departure for Amster- 
dam that same evening, by the night-boat, without 
paying the least attention to the deceased,' and pro- 
bably without paying very much attention to the pay- 
ment of his own little account. 'No doubt he was 
the readier to dispense with these duties, as h^ had 
possessed himself of a ducatoon, and a small quantity 
of silver, together with a silver-hafted knife, and had 
absconded with his pillage.' Here you see, gentle- 
men, the murder is plain, and the manner of it. It 
was L. M. who murdered Spinosa for his money. Poor 
Spinosa wai^ an invalid, meagre and weak : as no blood 
was observed, L. M. no doubt threw him down, and 
smothered him with pillows — the poor man being 
already half suffocated by his infernal dinner. After 
mastieating -that ' ancient cock,' which I take to meail 
« cock of the preceding century^ is what condkioli 

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could the poor invalid find ninmelf for a stand-up fi^^ 
with L. M. ? But who was L. M. ? It surely never 
could be Lindley Murray, for I saw him at York in 
1825 ; and, besides, I do not think he would do such 
a thing — at least, not to a brother grammarian : for you 
know, gentlemen, that Spinosa wrote a very respectable 
Hebrew grammar. 

Hobbes — but why, or on what principle, I never 
could understand — was not murdered. This was a 
capital oversight of the professional men of the seven- 
teenth century ; because in every light he was a fine 
subject for murder, except, indeed, that he was lean 
and skinny ; for I can prove that he had money, and 
(what is very funny) he had no right to make the least 
resistance ; since, according to himself, irresistible 
power creates the very highest species of right, so 
that it is rebellion of the blackest dye to refuse to be 
murdered, when a competent force appears to murder 
you. However, gentlemen, though he was not mur- 
dered, I am happy to assure you that (by his own ac- 
count) he was three times very near being murdered, 
which is consolatory. The first time was in the spring 
of 1640, when he pretends to have circulated a little 
MS. on^the king's behalf against the Parliament; he 
never could produce this MS., by the by ; but he says, 
that, * Had not His Majesty dissolved the Parliament ' 
(in May), * it had brought him into danger of his life.' 
Dissolving the Parliament, however, was of no use ; 
for in November of the same year the Long Parliament 
assembled, and Hobbes, a second time fearing he should 
be murdered, ran away to France. This looks like the 
madness of John Dennis, who thought that Louis XIV. 
would never make peace with Queea Anne, unleM h* 

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36 mrsDEB. 

(Dennis, to wit) were given up to French vengeance ; 
. and actually ran away £rom the sea-coast under that 
belief. In France, Hobbes managed to take care of his 
throat pretty well for ten years ; but at the end of that 
time, by way of paying court to Cromwell, he pub- 
lished his ' Leviathan.' The old coward now began 
to ' funk ' horribly for the third time ; he fancied the 
swords of the cavaliers were constantly at his thioat, 
recollecting how they had served the Parliament am- 
bassadors at the Hague and Madrid. ' Turn,' says 
he, in his dog-Latin life of himself, 

* Tom Tenit in mentem mihi Dorislaus et Ascham ; 
Tanqoam proscripto terror ubique aderat.' 

And accordingly he ran home to England. Now, cer- 
tainly, it is very true that a man deserved a cudgelling 
for writing ' Leviathan ; ' and two or three cudgel- 
lings for writing a pentameter ending so villanously as 
* terror ubique aderat ! ' But no man ever thought 
him worthy of anything beyond cudgelling. And, in 
fact, the whole story is a bounce of his own. For, in 
a most abusive letter which he wrote ' to a learned 
person' (meaning Wallis the mathematician), he gives 
quite another account o£ the matter, and says (p. 8), 
he ran home ' because he would not trust his safety 
with the French clergy ; ' insinuating that he was likely 
to be murdered for his religion, which would have been 
a high joke indeed — Tom's being brought to the stake 
for religion. 

Bounce or not bounce, however, certain it is that 
Hobbes, to the end of his life, feared that somebody 
would murder him. This is proved by the story I am 
going to tell you : it is not from a manuscript, but (as 
Mr. Coleridge says) it is as good as manuscript ; for it 

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oomes from a book now entirely forgotten, viz., * The 
Creed of Mr. Hobbes Examined : in a Conference be- 
tween him and a Student in Divinity' (published 
about ten years before Hobbes*s death). The book is 
anonymous, but it was written by Tennison, the same 
who, about thirty years after, succeeded Tillotson as 
Archbishop of Canterbury. The introductory anecdote 
is as follows : — * A certain divine ' (no doubt Ten- 
nison himself) ' took an annual tour of one month to 
different parts of the island.'^ In on^ of these excur- 
sions (1670), he visited the Peak in Derbyshire, partly 
in consequence of Hobbes's description of it. Being 
in that neighborhood, he could not but pay a visit to 
Buxton ; and at the very moment of his arrival, he was 
fortunate enough to find a party of gentlemen dis- 
mounting at the inn-door, amongst whom was a long 
Uiin fellow, who turned out to be no less a person than 
Mr. Hobbes, who probably had ridden over from Chats- 
worth.^ Meeting so great a lion, a tourist, in search 
of the picturesque, coidd do no less than present him- 
self in the character of bore. And luckily for this 
scheme, two of Mr. Hobbes's companions were suddenly 
summoned away by express ; so that, for the rest of his 
stay at Buxton,'he had Leviathan entirely to himself, 
and had the honor of bowsing with him in the even- 
ing. Hobbes, it seems, at first showed a good deal of 
stiffness, for he was shy of divines ; but this wore off, 
and he became very sociable and funny, and they 
agreed to go into the bath together. How Tennison 
oould venture to gambol in the same water with Levi- 
athan, I cannot explain ; but so it was : they frolicked 
i^xmt like two dolphins, though Hobbes must have 
oeen as old as t^e hills; and *in those intervals 

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vfla&tem they abstamed from swimmiag and plunging 
tkeihselyes ' (i. e., diving), ' they diflcoursed of many 
things relating to the Baths of the Ancients, and tho 
Origine of Springs. When they had in this manner 
passed away an honr, they stepped out of the bath; 
and, haying dried and cloathed themselyes, they sata 
down in expectation of such a supper as the place af- 
forded; designing to re&esh themselves like the 
DeipnosophistcBy and rather to reason than to drink 
profoundly. Buirin this Sinocent intention they were 
interrupted by the disturbance arising from a little 
qpiarrel, in which some of the ruder people in the house 
were for a short time engaged. At this Mr. Hobbes 
seemed much concerned, though he was at some dis* 
tance from the persons.' And why was he concerned, 
gentlemen ? No doubt, you fuicy, &om some benign 
and disinterested love of peace worthy of an old man 
and a philosopher. But listen -— * For a while he was 
not composed, but related it once or twice as to him* 
self, with a low and careful, i. e, anxious, tone, how 
Sextus Koscius was murthered after supper by tiie 
Balnese Palatini. Of such g^ierai extent is that re- 
mark of Cicero, in relation to Epicurus the Atheist, of 
whom he observed, that he of all men dreaded moat 
those things which he contemned — Death and the 
Qods.' Merely because it wss supper time^ and in the 
neighborhood of a bath, Mr. Hobbes must have the 
fate of Sextus Koseius. He must be murt^red, be- 
cause Sextus Roscius was mur^red. What logic waa 
there in this, unless to a man who was always dream- 
ing of murder ? Here was Leviathan, no longer a£raid 
of l^e diggers of English cavaliers or Fren^ clergy^ 
but < Mghtened from his proprkty ' by a row in an «le- 

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faotrae betiTMn some honest clodhoppeiB of B^by* 
idiire, whom his own gaunt scareorow of a person, that 
belonged to quite anoth^ century, would have fright- 
ened out of their wits. 

Malebranche, it will give you pleasure to hear, was 
murdered. The man who murdered him is well 
known: it was Bishop Berkeley. The story is fit- 
miiiar, though hitherto not put in a proper light. 
Berkeley, when a young man, went to Paris, and 
called on Pere Malebranche. He found him in his 
cell cooking. Cooks have ever been a genus irrita" 
hUe ; authors still more so. Malebranche was both. A^ 
dispute arose ; the old &ther, warm already, became 
warmer; culinary and metaphysical irritations united 
to derange his liver : he took to his bed and died. 
Such is the common version of the story. ' So the 
Whole ear of Denmark is abused.' The fact is, that 
the matter was hushed up, out of consideration for 
Berkeley, who (as Pope justly observes) had ' every 
virtue under heaven : ' else it was well known that 
Berkeley, feding himself nettled by the waspishness of 
the old Frenchman, squared at him; a turn-up was 
the consequence ; Malebranche was floored in the flrst 
round ; Ihe conceit was wholly taken out of him ; and 
he would perhaps have given in ; but Berkeley's blood 
was now up, and he insisted on the old Frenchman's 
retracting his doctrine of Occasional Causes. The 
vanity of the man was too great for this ; and he fell 
a sacrifice to the impetuosity of Irish youth, combined 
with his own absurd obstinacy. 

, Leibnitz, being every way superior to Malebranche, 
one might, a fortiori^ have counted on his being mur- 
dered; which, however, was not the case. I believe 

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40 mrmraB. 

he was nettled at this neglect, and felt himself insulted 
by the security in which he passed his days. In no 
other way can I explain his conduct at the latter end 
of his life, when he chose to grow yery avariciouSy 
and to hoard up large sums of gold, which he kept in 
his own house. This was at Vienna, where he died ; 
and letters are still in existence, describing the im« 
measurable anxiety which he entertained for his throat. 
Still his ambition, for being attempted at least, was so 
great, that he would not forego the danger. A late 
English pedagogue, of Birminghajn manufacture — viz., 
Br. Parr — took a more selfish course under the same 
circumstance. He had amassed a considerable quan- 
tity of gold and silver plate, which was for some time 
deposited in his bedroom at his parsonage house. Hat- 
ton. But growing every day more afraid of being 
murdered, which he knew that he could not stand 
(and to which, indeed, he never had the slightest pre« 
tensions), he transferred the whole to the Hatton 
blacksmith ; conceiving, no doubt, that the murder of 
a blacksmith would fall more lightly on the salus 
reipubliccB^ than that of a pedagogue. But I *have 
heard this greatly disputed ; and it seems now gener- 
ally agreed, that one good horseshoe is worth about 
two and a quarter Spital sermons.'' 

As Leibnitz, though not murdered, may be said to 
have died, partly of the fear that he shoidd be mur- 
dered, and partly of vexation that he was not, Kant, 
on the other hand — who manifested no ambition in 
that way— had a narrower escape from a murderer 
than any man we read of, except Des Cartes. So ab- 
surdly does fortune throw about her favors! The 
case is told, I think, in an anonymous life of this very 

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great man. For health's sake, Kant imposed upon 
himself, at one time, a walk of six miles every day 
along a high-road. T}iis fact becoming known to a 
man who had his private reasons for committing 
mnrder, at the third milestone from Konigsberg, he 
waited for his 'intended,* who came np to time as 
duly as a mail-coach. 

But for an accident, Kant was a dead man. This 
accident lay in the scrupulous, or what Mrs. Quickly 
would have called the peevish, morality of the mur- 
derer. An old professor, he fancied, might be laden 
with sins. Not so a young child. On this consider-, 
ation, he turned away from Kant at the critical mo- 
ment, and soon a£ter murdered a child of five years 
old. Such is the German accoimt of the matter ; but 
my opinion is, that the murderer was an amateur, who 
felt how little would be gained to the cause of good 
taste by murdering an old, arid, and adust metaphysi- 
cian ; there was no room for display, as the man could 
not possibly look more like a mummy when dead, 
than he had done alive. 

Thus, gentlemen, I have traced the '^connection be- 
tween philosophy and our art, until insensibly I find 
that I have wandered into our own era. This I shall 
not take any pains to characterize apart from that 
which preceded it, for,'in fact, they have no distinct 
character. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, 
together with so much of the nineteenth as we have 
yet seen, jointly compose the Augustan age of murder. 
The finest work of the seventeenth century is, unques- 
tionably, the murder of Sir Edmondbury Godfrey, 
which has my entire approbation. In the grand fea« 

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tore of mjfsUfy^ whkh in some shape or other ought 
to color every judicious attempt at murder, it is excel- 
lent; for the mystery is not yet dispersed. The 
attempt to fasten the murder upon the Papists, which 
would injure it as much as some well-known Correg- 
gios have heen injured by the professional picture- 
cleaners, or would even ruin it by translating it into 
the spurious dass of mere political or partisan murders, 
thoroughly wanting in the murderous animusy I exhort 
the society to discountenance. In fact, this notion is 
altogether baseless, and arose in pure Protestant 
^Bmaticism. Sir Edmondbury had not distinguished 
himself amongst the London magistrates by any sever- 
ity against the Papists, or in favoring the attempts of 
zealots to enforce the penal laws against individuals. 
He had not armed against himself tiie animosities of 
any religious sect whatever. And as to the droppings 
of wax lights upon the dress of the corpse when first 
discovered in a ditch, from which it was inferred at 
the time that the priests attached to the Popish 
Queen's Chapel had been concerned in the murder, 
either these were mere fraudulent artifices devised by 
those who wished to fix the suspicion upon the Pa- 
pists, or else the whole allegation — wax-droppings, 
and the suggested cause of the droppings — might be 
a boimce or fib of Bishop Burnet ; who, as the Duchess 
of Portsmouth used to say, was the one great master 
of fibbing and romancing in the seventeenth century. 
At the same time, it must be observed that the quan- 
tity of murder was not great in Sir Edmondbury's 
century, at least amongst our own artists ; which, per- 
haps, is attributable to the want of enlightened patron- 
age. Sini McBcenateSy non deerutU^ Flacce^ Maronu. 

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Constdtilig Grant's < Obgeryations on the Bills of Mor* 

lality ' (4tli edition, Oxford, 1666), I find, that, out 
of 229,250, who died in London during one period of 
twenty years in the seventeenth century, not more 
than eighty-six w^re murdered; that is, about four 
three-tenths per annum. A small number this, gen« 
tlemen, to found an academy upon; and certainly, 
where the quantity is so small, we have a right to ex- 
pect that the quality shoidd be first-rate. Perhaps it 
Was ; yet still I am of opinion that the best artist in 
this century was not equal to the best in that which 
ibUowed. For instance, however praiseworthy the 
case of Sir Edmondbury Godfrey may be (and nobody 
can be more sensible of its merits than 1 am), still, I 
cannot consent to place it on a level with that of Mrs. 
Ruscombe of Bristol, either as to originality of design, 
or boldness and breadth of style. This good lady's 
murder took fdace early in the reign of George III. — 
a reign which was notoriously favorable to the arts 
generally. She lived in College Green, with a single 
maid-servant, neither of them having any pretensioii 
to the notice of history but what tiiey derived from 
ihjd great artist whose workmanship I am recording* 
One fine morning, when all Bristol waa aHve and in 
motion, some suspicion arising, the neighbors forced an 
entrance into the house, and found Mrs. Euscombe 
murdered in her bedroom, and the servant murdered 
on the stairs. This was at noon ; and, not more than 
two hours before, both mistress and servant had been 
seen alive. To the best of my remembrance, this wbm 
in 1764; upwards of sixty years, therefore, have now 
elapsed, and yet the artist is still undiscovered. The 
soiqncions of posterity have settled upon two pretead- 

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ers — a baker and a cldmney-sweeper. But posterity 
is wrong ; no unpractised artist could have conceived 
so bold an idea as that of a noonday murder in the 
heart of a great city. It was no obscure baker, gentle- 
men, or anonymous chimney-sweeper, be assured, that 
executed this wort. I know who it was. {Here there 
was a general huzz^ which at length broke out into 
open applause; upon which the lecturer blushed, and 
went on with much earnestness,) For Heaven's sake, 
gentlemen, do not mistake me ; it was not I that did 
it. I have not the vanity to think myself equal to any 
such achievement ; be assured that you greatly over- 
rate my poor talents ; Mrs. Euscombe*s affair was far 
beyond my slender abilities. But I came to know 
who the artist was, from a celebrated surgeon who 
assisted at his dissection. This gentleman had a pri- 
vate museum in the way of his profession, one comer 
' of which was occupied by a cast from a man of remark- 
ably fine proportions. 

' That,' said the surgeon, ' is a cast £rom the cele- 
brated Lancashire highwayman, who concealed his pro- 
fession for some time from his neighbors, by drawing 
woollen stockings over his horse's legs, and in that 
way muffling the clatter which he must else have made 
in riding up a flagged alley that led to his stable. At 
the time of his execution for highway robbery, I was 
studying \mder Cruickshank : and the man's figure 
was so uncommonly fine, that no money or exertion 
was spared to get into possession of him with the least 
possible delay. By the connivance of the under- 
sheriff, he was cut down within the legal time, and 
instantly put into a chaise-and-four ; so that, when he 
reached Cruickshank's, he was positively not dead* 

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MUBDEB. • 45 

Mr. , a young student at that time, had the honor 

of giving him the cot^ de grace, and finishing the sen- 
tence of the law.* This remarkable anecdote, which 
seemed to imply that all the gentlemen in the dissect- 
ing-room were amateurs of our class, struck me a good 
deal ; and I was repeating it one day to a Lancashire 
lady, who'thereupon informed me, that she had herself 
lived in the neighborhood of that highwayman, and 
well remembered two circumstances, which combined, 
in the opinion of all his neighbors, to fix upon him the 
credit of Mrs. Euscombe^s afiisdr. One was, the fact 
of his absence for a whole fortnight at the period of 
that murder ; the other, that, within a very little time 
after, iixe neighborhood of this highwayman was del- 
uged with dollars. Now, Mrs. Ruscombe was known 
to have hoarded about two thousand of that coin. Be 
the artist, however, who he might, the afiair remaias a 
durable monument of his genius ; for such was the im- 
pression of awe, and the sense of power left behind, by 
the strength of conception manifested in this murder, 
that no tenant (as I was told in 1810) had been found 
Tip to that time for Mrs. Ruscombe*s house. 

But, whilst I thus eulogize the Euscombian case, let 
me not be supposed to overlook the many other speci- 
mens of extraordinary merit spread over the face of this 
century. Such cases, indeed, as that of Miss Bland, or 
of Captain Donnellan, and Sir Theophilus Boughton, 
shall never have any countenance from me. Fie on 
these dealers in poison, say I : can they not keep to 
the old honest way of cutting throats, without intro- 
ducing such abominable innovations from Italy? I 
consider all these poisoning cases, compared with the 
legitimate style, as no better than waxwork by the 

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46 • inrBSXB. 

tide of tculptnre, or a lithographic print by the nde of 
a fine Volpato. Put, dismissing these, there remain 
many excellent works of art in a pure style, such ai 
nobody need be ashamed to own ; and this every can* 
did connoisseur will admit. Candid, observe, I say ; 
for great allowances must be made in these cases ; no 
artist can ever be sure of carrying through his own fine 
preconception. Awkward disturbances will arise ) 
people will not submit to have their throats cut 
quietly ; they will run, they will kick, they will late ; 
and whilst the portrait painter often has to complain 
of too much torpor in his subject, the artist in our liB« 
is generally embarrassed by too much animation. At 
the same time, however disagreeable to the artist, this 
tendency in murder to excite and irritate the subject is 
certainly one of its advantages to the world in general, 
which we ought not to overlook, since it favors the 
development of latent talent. Jeremy Taylor notices 
with admiration the extraordinary leaps which peopU 
will take under the influence of fear. There was a 
striking instance of this in the recent case of the 
M'Eeans : the boy cleared a height, such as he wili 
never clear again to his dying day. Talents also of 
the most brilliant description for thumping, and, inr 
deed, for all the gymnastic exercises, have sometimes 
been developed by the panic which accompanies our 
artists ; talents else buried and hid under a bushel, to 
the possessors as much as to their friends. I remem* 
ber an interesting illustration of this fact, in a case 
which I learned in Germany. 

Riding one day in the neighborhood of Munich, I 
overtook a distinguished amateur of our society, whose 
name, for obvious reasons, I shall conceal. This g^ik- 

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Heman informed me that, finding himself wearied with 
the frigid pleasures (such he esteemed them) of mere 
amateurship, he had quitted England for the Continent 

— meaning to practise a little professionally. For this 
purpose he resorted to Germany, conceiving the police 
in that part of Europe to be more heavy and drowsy 
than elsewhere. His dehU as a practitioner took place 
at Mannheim ; and, knowing me to be a brother ama« 
teur, he freely communicated the whole of his maiden 
adventure. * Opposite to my lodging,' said he, * lived 
a baker ; he was somewhat of a miser, and lived quite 
alone. Whether it were his great expanse of chalky 
face, or what else, I know not, but the fact was, I 
"fancied" him, and resolved to commence business 
upon his throat, which, by the way, he always carried 
bare — a fashion which is very irritating to my desires. 
Precisely at eight o'clock in the evening, I observed 
that he regularly shut up his windows. One night I 
watched him when thus engaged — bolted in after him 

— locked the door — and, addressing him with great 
suavity, acquainted him with the nature of my errand ; 
at the same time advising him to make no resistance, 
which would be mutually unpleasant. So saying, I 
drew out my tools ; and was proceeding to operate- 
But at this spectacle the baker, who seemed to have 
been struck by catalepsy at my first announcement, 
awoke into tremendous agitation. ' I will not be mur- 
dered ! * he shrieked aloud ; ' what for will I ' (meaning 
shall I) ' lose my precious throat ? ' * What for ? ' said 
I; 'if for no other reason, for this — that you put 
alum into your bread. But no matter, alum or no 
alum' (for I was resolved to forestall any argument on 
that point), * know that I am a virtuoso in the art of 

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murder — am desirous of improving myself in its 
details — and am enamored of your vast surface of 
throat, to which I am determined to be a customer.* 
* Is it 80 ? ' said he, ' but 1*11 find you a customer in 
another line ; ' and so saying, he threw himself into a 
boxing attitude. The very idea of his boxing struck 
me as ludicrous. It is true, a London baker had dis- 
tinguished himself in the ring, and became known to 
fame under the title of the Master of the Rolls ; but 
he was young and unspoiled ; whereas, this man was 
a monstrous feather-bed in person, fifty years old, and 
totally out of condition. Spite of all this, however, 
and contending against me, who am a master in the 
art, he made so desperate a defence, that many times I 
feared he might turn the tables upon me ; and that I, 
an amateur, might be murdered by a rascally baker. 
What a situation ! Minds of sensibility wijl sympa- 
thize with my anxiety. How severe it was, you may 
understand by this, that for the first thirteen rounds 
the baker positively had the advantage. Round ihe 
14th, I received a blow on the right eye, which closed 
it up ; in the end, I believe, this was my salvation ; 
for the anger it roused in me was so great, that, in the 
next, and every one of the three following rounds, I 
floored the baker. 

* Roimd 19th. The baker came up piping, and 
manifestly the worse for wear. His geometrical ex- 
ploits in the four last roimds had done him no good. 
However, he showed some skill in stopping a mes- 
sage which I was sending to his cadaverous mug ; in 
delivering which, my foot slipped, and I went down. 

* Round 20th. Surveying the baker, I became 
ashamed of having been so much bothered by a shape* 

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less mass of dough ; and I went in fiercely, and ad- 
ministered some severe punishment. A rally took 
place — both went down — baker undermost — ten to 
three on amateur. 

* Hound 21st. The baker jumped up with surpris- 
ing agility ; indeed, he managed his pins capitally, 
and fought wonderfully, considering that he was 
drenched in perspiration ; but the shine was now 
taken out of him, and his game was the mere effect of 
panic. It was now clear that he could not last much 
longer. In the course of this round we tried the 
weaving system, in which I had greatly the advantage, 
and hit him repeatedly on the conk. My reason for 
this was, that his conk was covered with carbuncles ; . 
and I thought I should vex him by taking such liber*- 
ties with his conk, which in fact I did. 

'The three next rounds, the master of the rolls 
staggered about like a cow on the ice. Seeing how 
matters stood, in round 24th I whispered something 
into his ear, which sent him down like a shot. It was 
nothing more than my private opinion of the value of 
his throat at an annuity office. This little confident' 
tial whisper affected him greatly ; the very perspiration 
was frozen on his face, and for the next two rounds I 
had it aU my own way. Ahd when I called time for 
the 27th round, he lay like a log on the floor.' 

After which, said I to the amateur, ' It may be pre- 
sumed that you accomplished your purpose.* ' You 
are right,* said he mildly, ' I did ; and. a great satisfac- 
tion, you know, it was to my mind, for by this means 
I killed two birds with one stone ; ' meaning that he 
bad both thumped the baker and murdered him. 
Now, for the life of me, I could not see that ; for, q% 

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Ihe o<mtrary, to my mind it iip{)etred i^t ke htA 
taken two stones to kill one Mrd, havmg been obliged 
to take tke conceit out of him first wi& his fist^ and then 
with his tools. But no matter for his logic. The 
-moral of his story was good, ior it showed what an 
astonishing stimulus to latent talent is contained in 
any reasonable prospect of being murdeted. A pursy, 
oinwieldy, half cataleptic baker of Mannheim had 
absolutely fought iseYen-and*twenty roimds with an 
«cc<Hnplished English boxer, merely npon this inspira- 
tion ; so great was natural genius exalted and sublimed 
by the genial presence of his murderer. 

Really, gentlemen, when one heats of such things 
ies these, it becomes a duty, perhaps, a little to soffcen 
that extreme asperity with which most men speak d£ 
murder. To hear people talk, you would suppose 
%hat all the disadvantages and inconveniences were on 
the side of being murdered, and that there were nond 
at all in not being murdered. But considerate men 
^ink otherwise. ' Certainly,' say6 Jeremy Taylot, 
* it is a less temporal evil to fall by the rudefness of % 
vword than the violence of a fever : and the a;xe ' (tb 
^irhich he might have added the ship-carpenter's mallet 
and the crowbar), * a much less affliction than a stran*- 
gury.' Very true ; the bishop talks like a wise man 
and an amateur, as I am sure he was ; and another 
great philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, was equally above 
the vulgar prejudices on this subject. He declares 
it to be one of * the noblest functions of reason to 
know whether it is time to walk out of the world or 
iiot.' (Book iii., Gollers' Translation.) No sort of 
knowledge being rarer than this, surely that man must 
lie « most philanthropic character, who undertakes t« 

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tflTBBSK. M 

^instruct people in this branch of knowledge 'giatifl, and 
at no little liazaard to liimself. All thiig, however, I 
throw out only in the way of speculation to fature 
moralists ; declaring in the meantime my own private 
conviction, that very few men commit murder upon 
philanthropic or patriotic principlee, and r epeat in g 
what I have already said once at least — that, as to 
the majority of murderers, they are very inoorreot 

With respect to the Williams* mnrders, Ihe sub- 
Emest and most entire* in their exc^ence ^t ever 
were committed, I shall not allow myself to spesdc 
incidentally. No^ng less thisin an entire lecture, or 
even an entire course of lectures, -would suffice to ex- 
pound their merits. But one curious fact connected 
with his case I shall mention, because it seems to im» 
ply that the blaze of his genius absolutely dazzled the 
eye of criminal justice. You all remember, I doubt not, 
tiiat the instruments with which he executed his first 
great work (the murder of the Marrs) were a ship- 
carpenter's mallet and a knife. Now, the mallet be- 
longed to BU old Swede, one John Peterson, and bore 
his initials. This instrument Williams left behind 
him in Marr's house, and it fell into the hands of the 
magistrates. But, gentlemen, it is a fact that the 
publication of this circumstance of the initials led im- 
mediately to the apprehension of Williams, and, if 
made earlier, would have prevented his second great 
-work (the murder of the Williamsons), which took 
place precisely twelve days after. Yet the magistrates 
kept back this fact from the public for the entire 
•twelve days, and until that second work was accom- 
l^died. That finished, they published it, apparently 

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feeling that Williams liad now done enough for liis 
fame, and tHat his glory was at length placed beyond 
the reach of accident. 

As to Mr. Thurtell's case, I know not what to say. 
Naturally, I have every disposition .to think highly of 
my predecessor in the chair of this society ; and I ac- 
knowledge that his lectures were unexceptionable. 
But, speaking ingenuously, I do really think that hid 
principal performance, as an artist, has been much 
overrated. I admit, that at first, I was myself carried 
away by the general enthusiasm. On the morning 
when the murder was made known in London, there 
was the fullest meeting of amateur%that I have ever 
known since the days of Williams ; old bedridden con- 
noisseurs, who had got into a peevish way of sneering 
and complaining * that there was nothing doing,' now 
hobbled down to our club-room : such hilarity, such 
benign expression of general satisfaction, I have rarely 
witnessed. On every side 3'ou saw people shaking 
hands, congratulating each other, and forming dinner 
parties for the evening ; and nothing was to be heard 
but triumphant challenges of — ' Well ! will this do ? ' 
* Is this the right thing ? ' ' Are you satisfied at last ? ' 
But in the middle of the row, I remember, we all 
grew silent, on hearing the old cynical amateur L. 
6 stumping along with his wooden leg ; he en- 
tered the room with his usual scowl ; and, as he ad- 
vanced, he continued to growl and stutter the whole 
way — «Mere plagiarism — base plagiarism from hints 
that I threw out ! Besides, his style is as harsh as 
Albert Durer, and as coarse as Fuseli.' Many thought 
that this was mere jealousy, and general waspishness^ 
bat I confess that, when the first glow of enthusiasm 

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liad subsided, I liaye found most judicioas critics to 
agree that there was something falsetto in the style of 
Thurtell. The fact is, he was a member of our so- 
ciety, which naturally gave a friendly bias to our 
judgments ; and his person was universally familiar to 
the ' fancy,* which gave him, with the whole London 
public, a temporary popularity, that his pretensions 
are not capable of supporting ; for opinionum commenta 
delet di$s, natura judicia confirmat. There was, how- 
ever, an unfinished design of Thurtell's for the murder 
of a man with a pair of dumb-bells, which I admired 
greatly ; it was a mere outline, that he never filled in ; 
but to my mind it seemed every way superior to his 
chief work. I remember that there was great regret 
expressed by some amateurs that this sketch should 
have been left in an unfinished state : but there I can- 
not agree with them ; for the fragments and first bold 
outlines of original artists have often a felicity about 
them which is apt to vanish in the management of the 

The case of the M'Reans I consider far beyond the 
vaunted performance of Thurtell — indeed, above all 
praise ; and bearing that relation, in fact, to the im- 
mortal works of Williams, which the * ^neid ' bears 
to the ' niad.' 

But it is now time that I should say a few words 
about the principles of murder, not with a view to 
regulate your practice, but your judgment : as to old 
women, and the mob of newspaper readers, they are 
pleased with anything, provided it is bloody enough. 
But the mind of sensibility requires something more. 
jntst, then, let us speak of the kind of person who is 
adapted to liie purpose of the murderer; iecondly^ of 

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tlte plaee where; ^irttfyy of the time wleii^ an^ oQxet 
liltle cirBTDnsttnces. 

As to the person, I suppose that it is eyident that 
he ought to he a good man ; because, i£ he were not, 
he might himself, by possibility, be contemplating 
mforder at the Tery time ; and such ' diamondM^ut-dia- 
mond * tussles, ihoogh pleasant enough ^n^xexe molMng 
better is stiningt ave really not what a critic can allow 
himself to call murdera. I could mentioa some peo- 
ple (I name no names) who hare, been, mnvdeBed by 
otiker people in a. dark lane ; and so feur all seemed 
correct enough ; but, on looking farther iziio the matter, 
the public have become aware that the murdered party 
was himself, at the moment^ plaammg to rob his mur- 
decw, at the least, and possibly to msrder him, if ha 
had been strong enough. Whenerer that is the case^ 
or may be tkou^ to be the case, furewell to all the 
gtmune effects of tiie art. For the final purpose of 
nnirder, ccmstdered as a fine art,, ia precisely tibe samo 
as that of tragedy, in Aristotle's accoimt of it ; viz^ 
< to cleanse the heart by means of pity and tenor/ 
Now, terror there may be, but how cam there be any 
pity for one tiger destroyed by another tiger ? 

U ia also evident th&t the person selected ought not 
to be a public character. For instance, no judicious 
artiatt would have attempted to murder Abraham New- 
laiid.^ For the case was ikis: rrerybody read so 
nmeh abo«it Abraham Newland, and so few people 
CTer saw him, that to the general belief he was a mere 
abstract idea. And I remember, that once, when I 
happened to mention that I had dined at a coffee- 
house in company with Abraham Newland, everybody 
looked scornfully at me^ as though I had pretended to 

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have played at biUiarcU mih F?eat«« Jolia» ot to have 
IjAd an affair of konor with tko Fope« Amd, by tha 
vay, the Pope would be a ^^ry in^oper person ta 
murder: for he has such a vixtual ubiquity as iihi$s 
father of ChriflteBdom, iiud, like thfi- cuekoo, » fu^ 
olteii heard but neyer seen, that I suspect moat people 
ze^^ard Aim also aa az^ abstract idea. Whw^ indeed,^ 
a public «ian is in the h,abit of giving darners, ' wil^ 
ef^ery delicacy of the season,' the. oaas ia very difie&v 
ent : every person is satisi&ed that Ae is no abpttnu^ 
id^a; and, therefove, thece> can be no ^{^(^riety ia 
murdering him , only that his murder will faJQ into t^t 
cjbss of assassinations^ which Ihav^ not yet treated. 

Thirdly, The subject chosen ou^t to be in good 
health : for it is absolutely barbarous to murder a Mok; 
person, who is usually %uite unaMe t» bear it. Qa 
tkis principle, no tailor ought to be diosen wh(x iit 
aliove twenty-five, for after tibit age he is s^oe to ba 
dyspeptic. Or at least, if a man will hun^ in that' 
warren^ he will of course think it his duty^ on the old 
established equation, to murder some multiple of 9 -^ 
say 18^ 2.7, or 56. And here, in this b^ugn attentkm 
to the comfort of si(^ people, you will observe thft 
uaual effect of a fine art to soften and refine the feel* 
i]^« The world in genexal, gentlemen, are v^ry 
bloody-minded; and all ^hey want in a murder is a 
copious effusion of blood ; gaudy dispbiy in this poini 
is enough for ihem. But the enlightened connoisseur 
is more refined in his taste ; and from our art, as from^ 
all the other liberal arts when thoroughly mastered, 
the result is^ to humanize the heart ; so true is it, that 

* Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes, 
EmoUit iiK»reB, neo sinit esse fbros.' 

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56 ^ kUBDEB. 

A philosophic Mend, well known for his philan* 
thropy and general benignity, suggests that the subject 
chosen ought also to have a family of young chil- 
dren wholly dependent upon his exertions, by way of 
deepening the pathos. And, undoubtedly, this is a 
judicious caution. Yet I would not insist too keenly 
on such a condition. Severe good taste unquestiona- 
bly suggests it ; but still, where the man was other- 
wise unobjectionable in point of morals and health, I 
would not look with too curious a jealousy to a re- 
striction which might have the effect of narrowing the 
artist's sphere. 

So much for the {)erson. As to the time, the place, 
and the tools, I have many things to say, which at 
present I have no room for. The good sense of the 
. practitioner has usually directed him to night and 
privacy. Yet there have not been wanting cases 
where this rule was departed from with excellent 
effect. In respect to time, Mrs. Huscombe's case is ai 
beautiful exception, which I have already noticed ; and 
in respect both to time and place, there is a fine ex- 
ception in the annals of Edinburgh (year 1805), familiar 
to every child in Edinburgh, but which has unac- 
countably been defrauded of its due portion of fame 
amongst English amateurs* The case I mean is that 
of a porter to one of the banks, who was murdered, 
whilst carrying a bag of money, in broad daylight, on 
turning out of the High Street, one of the most public 
streets in Europe ; and the murderer is to this hour 

* Sed ftigit interea, fdgit irreparabile tempus. 
Singula dum capti oircumTectanmr amore.* 

And now, gentiemen, in conclusion, let me again 

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solemnly diBclaim all pretensions on my own part to 
the character of a professional man. I never attempted 
any murder in my life, except in the year 1801, upon 
the body of a tom-cat ; and that turned out differently 
from my intention. My purpose, I own, was down- 
right murder. ' Semper ego auditor tantum ? * said I, 
' nunquamne reponam ? ' . And I went down stairs in 
feearch of Tom at one o'clock on a dark night, with 
the ' animus,' and no doubt with the fiendish looks, of 
a murderer. But when I found him, he '^^as in the 
act of plundering the pantry of bread and other 
things. Now this gave a new turn to the affair ; for 
the time being one of general scarcity, when even 
Christians were reduced to the use of potato-bread, 
rice-bread, and all sorts of things, it was downright 
treason in a tom-cat to be wasting good wheaten- 
bread in the way he was doing. It instantly became 
a patriotic duty to put him to death ; and, as I raised 
aloft and shook the glittering steel, I fancied myself 
losing, like Brutus, effulgent from a crowd of patriots, 
and, as I stabbed him, I 

« Call'd aloud on Tolly's name. 
And bade the &ther of his country hail ! ' 

Since then, what wandering thoughts I may have 
had of attempting the life of an ancient ewe, of a 
superannuated hen, and such ' small deer,' are locked 
up in the secrets of my own breast ; but, for the 
higher departments of the art, I confess myself to be 
utterly imfit. My ambition does not rise so high. 
No, gentlemen, in the words of Horace, 

* Fongar yice cotis, acutam 
Beddere ppm fermm valet, ezsors ipsa aeoandi.* 

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A GOOD many years ago, the reader may r^Biember 
tkat I cam<t forward in the cbaraeter of a dilettanie in 
murder. Perhaps dUettante is too strong a word. 
Connoisseur ia better suited to the scruples and in- 
firmity of public taste. I suppose there is no harm in 
tJuU, at least. A man is not boimd to put his eyea^ 
ears, and understanding into his Weeches-pocket whe& 
he meets with a murder. If he is not in a downri^ft 
comatose state, I suppose he must see that one murder 
is better or worse than another, in point of good taste. 
Murders have their little differences and shades of 
merit, as well as statues, pictures, oratorios, cameoa, 
intaglios, or what not. You may be angry witii the 
man for talking too mu<^ or too publicly (as to the 
too much, that I deny — a man can nev^ cultivate his 
taste too highly) ; but yon nuut allow him to think, at 
any rate. Well, would you believe it ? aU my nei^br 
bors came to hear of tiiat little sralhetio essay which I 
had published ; and, unfcMrtunately, hearing at the very 
same time of a dub that I was connected with,, tmd a 
dinner at wMdi I prodded -» both tending to tiie uxom 
little object as i^ essay, vm^ &« diffusion of a jurt 
taste among Her^ Mig«sty*s subjects, they got up the 
most barhairoQfl calumnjes against m«« la psffticular, 
they said that I, or that the dub (which comes to the 


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«juae thing), tad offered bqunties on well-conducted 
Uomicides — with a scale of drawbacks, in ease of any 
one defect or flaw, according to a table issued to pri- 
vate friends* Now, let me tell the whole truth about 
the dinner and the club, and it will be seen how 
malicious the world is. But first, confidentially,, allow 
me to say what my real principles^ are upon the matter 
m question. 

As to murder, I never committed one in my life 
It's a well-known thing amongst all my friendsu I c^ 
get a paper to certify as much, signed by lots of peop^ 
Indeed, if you come to that, I doubt whether many 
people could produce as strong a certificate. Mine^ 
would be as big as a breakfast tablecloth. There i« 
indeed one member of the club, who pretends to say 
he caught me once making too free with his throat oo^ 
a club night, after everybody else had retired. Butj, 
observe, he shuffles in his story according to his state 
of civilation.* When not far gone, he contents himself 
with saying that he caught me ogling his throat ; an4 
that I was melancholy for some weeks after, and tl;\at 
my voice soimded in a way expressing, to the nice ear 
of a connoisseur, the sense of opportunities lost ; but the 
club all know that he is a disappointed man himseli^ 
and that he speaks quendously at times about the i^tal 
neglect of a man's coming abroad without his tooUu 
Besides, all this is an affair between two amateurs, imd 
everybody makes allowances for little asperities and 
fi^bs in such a case. * But,' say you, ' if no murderer, 
you may have encouraged, or even have bespoken a 
murder.' No, upon my honor -^ no. And that wai| 
the very point I wi§h«d to a^ g\ie for ypur aatisfiiation« 
Xbe tnltb i^i, I W|i a ireyy particsttUr pt^fi w e^eifthigg 

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60 HtTBBBB. 

relating to murder ; and perhaps I carry my delicacy 
too far. The Stagirite most justly, and possibly with 
a view to my case, placed virtue in the to fiiaor, or mid- 
dle point between two extremes. A golden mean is 
certjdnly what every man should aim at. But it is 
easier talking than doing ; and, my infirmity being no- 
toriously too much nulkiness of heart, I find it difficult 
to maintain that steady equatorial line between the 
two poles of too much murder on the one hand,, and 
too little on the other. I am too soft — and people 
get excused through me — nay, go through life with- 
out an attempt made upon them, that ought not to be 
excused. I believe, if I had the management of things, 
there woidd hardly be a murder from year's end to 
year's end. In fact, I'm for peace, and quietness, and 
fawningness, and what may be styled knocking-under" 
ness^. A man came to me as a candidate for the place 
of my servant, just then vacaut. He had the reputa- 
tion of having dabbled a little in our art ; some said, 
not without merit. What startled me, however, was, 
that he supposed this art to be part of his regular du- 
ties in my service, and talked of having it considered 
in his wages. Now, that was a thing I would not 
allow ; so I said . at once, * Richard (or James, as the 
case might be), you misunderstand my character. Ka 
man will and must practise this difficult (and allow me 
to add, dangerous) branch of art — if he has an over- 
ruling genius for it, why, in that case, all I ,say is, that 
he might as well pursue his studies whilst living in my 
service as in another's. And also, I may observe, that 
it can do no harm either to himself or to the subject 
on whom he operates, that he should be guided by 
iBen of more taste than himself. Genius may do 

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MXTBDEB. ' 5l 

much, but long study of the art must always entitle a 
man to offer advice. So far I will go — general prin- 
ciples I will suggest. But as to any particular case, 
once for all I will have nothing to do with it. Never 
tell me of any special work of art you are meditating 
— I set my face against it in toto. For, if once a man 
indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to 
think little of robbing ; and from robbing he comes 
next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that 
to incivility and procrastination. Once begin upon 
this downward path, you never know where you are 
to stop. Many a man has dated his ruin from some 
murder or other that perhaps he thought little of at 
the time. Principiis ohsta — that's my rule.* Such 
was my speech, and I have always acted up to it ; so, 
if that is not being virtuous, I should be glad to know 
what is. But now about the dinner and the club. 
The club was not particularly of my creation ; it arose 
pretty much as other similar associations, for the prop- 
agation of truth and the communication of new ideas j 
rather from the necessities of things, than upon any 
one man's suggestion. As to the dinner, if any man 
more than another could be held responsible for that, 
it was a member known amongst us by the name of 
Toad-in-the-hole. He was so called from his gloomy, 
misanthropical disposition, which led him into constant 
disparagements of all modem murders as vicious abor- 
tions, belonging to no authentic school of art. The 
finest performances of our own age he snarled at cyn- 
ically ; and at length this querulous humor grew upon 
him so much, and he became so notorious as a laudator 
temporis aeti, that few people cared to seek his society. 
This made him still more fierce and truculent. Ho 

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6) H¥9M«* 

iK^eat about nattering and growUug; Drherevor ]K)ii 
met him, he was 9oliloqmzii^« and saTing, * despicably 
pretender — without grouping — without two ideaa 
upon handling — without ' — and there you lost him. 
At length existence seemed to' be painful to him ; he 
rac^y spoke, he seemed ecoiTeraing with phantoms in 
the air ; his housekeeper informed us that his reading 
was nearly conined to * God*s Eevenge upon Murder/ 
by Reynolds, and a more ancient book of the same 
title, noticed by Sir Walter Scott in his ^ Fortunes of 
Nigel.' Sometimes, perhaps, he might read in the 
* Newgate Calendar ' down to the year 1788, but he 
never looked into a book more recent. In fact, he 
had a theory with regard to the French Eevolution, aa 
having been the great cause of degeneration in mur- 
der. * Very soon, sir,* he used to say, < men will have 
lost the art of killing poultry : the very rudiments of 
the axt will have perished!' In the year 1811, ho 
retired from general society. Toad-in-the-hole waa 
no more seen in any public resort. We missed him 
from his wonted haunts — ' nor up the lawn, nor at 
the wood was he.' By the side of the main conduit 
his listlesa length at nocmtide he would stretch, and 
pore upon the filth that muddled by. ' Even dogs,' 
this pensive moralist would say, * are not what they 
were, sir — not what they should be. I remember m 
my grand£Bither's time that some dogs had an idea of 
murder. I have known a mastiff, sir, that lay in am* 
bush for a rival, yes, sir, and finally murdered hui^ 
with pleasing circumstances of good taste. I also wiA 
on intimate terms of acquaintance with a tom-oat thai 
was au assasiin. But now ' — >.-^ and then> the auh- 
jael grawiog too painfol, he dashsd hi* bancl tQ liit 

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fonbead, wni wont off abrupdj in a homeirazd dkeo* 
tkm towards bis j^vorite eonduit, where lie waa seen 
by an amateur in sucb a state, tbat be tbongbt it dan- 
gerous to address him. Boon after Toad sbut bimself 
entirely up ; it was understood tbat be bad resigned 
biflsself to melancboly ; and at length tbe ^evailing 
notion was, tbat Toad-inrtbe-bole bad banged bimself* 
Tbe world waa wrong there, as it bad been on some 
otbeir questions. Toad-in4be-bole migbt be sleeping^ 
but dead be was not ; and of tbat we soon bad ocular 
pvooL One morning in l$12, an amateur surprised us 
witb HxQ news tbat be bad seen Toad-in-tbe-bole brush- 
ing with basty steps tbe dews away, to meet tbe post- 
man by tbe eonduit side. Even tbat was something : 
how mueh more,, to bear tbat be bad shaved bis beard 
-^had laid aside his sad-colored clothes, and was 
adorned like a bridegroom of ancient days. What 
oould be the meaning of all tbis ? Was Toad-in-tbe- 
bole mad } or how ? Soon after the secret was ex- 
plained — in more than a figurative sense ' tbe murder 
was out.' For in came the London morning papers,, 
by which it i^peared tbat but three days before a mur- 
der, tbe most superb of the century by many degrees, 
had occurred in the heart of London. I need hardly 
say, that this waa the great exterminating- chef-d' cBuvre^ 
of Williams at Mr. Marr's, No. 29 Ratcliffe Highway. 
Tbat wm &e d;ihU of tbe artist ; at least for anything 
the public knew. What occurred at Mr. Williamson's 
twelve nights afterwards -*- the second work turned out 
fitcmi the same chisel — some people pronounced even 
superior. But Toad-in-tbe-bole always 'reclaimed,' 
he was even angry, at such comparisons. * Tbis vul^ 
gwt de tomparaiami as ]ja Bruy#re caUa it,* he would 

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64 Htnu>SA. 

often remark, ' will be our ruin ; eacH work has its own 
separate characteristics — each in and for itself is in- 
comparable. One perhaps might suggest the ' Iliad ' 

— the other the * Odyssey : *' but what do you get by 
such comparisons ? Neither ever was, or will be sur- 
passed ; and when you've talked for hours, you must 
still come back to that.' Vain, however, as all criti* 
cism might be, he often said that volumes might be 
written on each case for itself; and he even proposed 
to publish in quarto on the subject. 

Meantime, how had Toad-in-the-hole happened to 
hear of this great work of art so early in the morning? 
He had received an account by express, despatched by 
a correspondent in London, who watched the progress 
of art on Toad* 8 b^ialf, with a general commission to 
send off a special express, at whatever cost, in the event 
of any estimable works appearing. The express ar- 
rived in the night-time ; Toad-in-the-hole was then 
gone to bed ; he had been muttering and grumbling 
for hours, but of course he was called up. On reading 
the account, h^ threw his arms round the express, de- 
clared him his brother and his preserver, and. expressed 
his regret at not having it in his power to knight him: 
We, amateurs, having heard that he was abroad, and 
therefore had not hanged himself, made sure of soon 
seeing him amongst us. Accordingly he soon arrived ; 
seized every man's hand as he passed him — wrung it 
almost frantically, and kept ejaculating, ' Why, now, 
here's something like a mnrder ! — this is the real thing 

— this is genuine — this is what you can approve, can 
recommend to a friend : this — says every man, on 
reflection — this% the thing that ought to be ! Such 
works are enough to make us all young.' And in fact 

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MtTBBEB. 65 

the general opinion is, that Toad-iik-the-hole would 
have died but for this regeneration of art, which he 
called a second age of Leo the Tenth ; and it was 
our duty, he said, solemnly to commemorate it. At 
present, and en attendant, he proposed that the club 
should meet and dine together. A dinner, therefore, 
was given by the club ; to which all amateurs were in« 
▼ited from a distance of one hundred miles. 

Of this dinner, there are ample short-hand notes 
amongst the archives of the club. But they are not 
' extended,' to speak diplomatically ; and the reporter, 
who only could give the whole report in extenso, is 
missing — I believe murdered. Meantime, in years 
long after that day, and on an occasion perhaps equally 
interesting, viz., the turning up of- Thugs and Thug- 
gism, another dinner was given. Of this I myself kept 
notes, for fear of another accident to the short-hand 
reporter. And I here subjoin them. Toad-in-the-hole, 
I must mention, was present at this dinner. In fact, 
it was one of its sentimental incidents. Being as old 
as the valleys at the dinner of 1812, naturally he was 
as old as the hills at the Thug dinner of 1838. He 
had taken to wearing his beard again ; why, or with 
what view, it passes my persimmon to tell you. But 
80 it. was. And his appearance was most benign and 
venerable. Nothing could equal the angelic radiance 
of his smile, as he inqiured after the unfortunate re- 
porter (whom, as a piece of private scandal, I should 
tell you that he was himself supposed to have mur- 
dered, in a rapture of creative art) : the answer waSy 
with roars of laughter, from the under-sheriff of our 
county — ' Non est inventus,^ Toad-in-the-hole laugh- 
ed outrageously at this : in fact, we all thought he was 

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6A H^999m. 

ckoldmg ; and, ftt;ike oipineBt request of the company^ a 
xBosical con^MMer fumuhed a mos^t beaatiful gke upon 
tke occasion^ which was sung five times after dinner, 
with universal applause and inextinguishable laughter, 
the words being these (and the chonia so contrived, 80. 
nuMt beautifully to mimic the peculiar laughter Qf 
Toad-in-the-hde) : — 

* Et interrogatum est k l^md-in-the-hole — Ul>i est Hie reporter ^ 
Bt responsom est earn oi»«hiTino — - JVbn est inmeniui.* 


* X>einde iteratam est ab omnibus, cum caohinnatione UBdulaiite 

trepldante — ^Fbn est inventus* 

Toad-in-the-hole, I ought tQ mention^ about nine 
years before, when an express £rom Edinburgh brought 
him the earliest intelligence of the Burke-and-Hare 
ijevolution in the art, went mad upon the spot ; and, in- 
stead of & pension to the express for even one life, or a 
luu^thood) endeavored to Burke him; in consequence 
of which he was put into, a strait- waistcoat. And that 
was the reason we had no dinn» then. But now. all 
of us were alive and kickii^, strait- wasitcoaters and 
qilhers ; in fact, not one ahsqntee was reported upon 
Hie entire roll. There were also many foreign ama- 
teius present. 

Dinner being over, and the cloth drawn, there was 
a general call made for tij^e new glee of Non est invenf 
tus ; Wt, a^ thia would have interfered with the requi- 
site gravtty of tihe CQa.pai^y during the earlier toasts, 
X overruled the call. After the national toasts had, 
been f^vesL, the first officvd toast of the day was^ The 
Old Man cf the Mnmlttins -^ drunk in Qol^nji silence. 

Toad-in-the-hole returned thanks in a neat speeclv 

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He likened himself to ike Oid Mao of the Mevar 

tainfl, in a few brief allneions, tliat made the oompei^ 
yell with laughter ; and he concluded wkh giving the 
health of 

Mr, Von Hammer, with many thanks to him £E>r hia 
learned History of the Old Man and hie suhjeets the 

Upon this I rose and said, that doubtless most of the 
company were aware of the distinguished place as* 
signed by orientalists to the very learned Turkish 
scholar. Von Hammer the Austrian ; that he had made 
the profoundest researches into our art, as connected 
with those early and eminent artists^ the Syrian assas- 
sina in the period of the Cruaadera ; that his work had 
been for seTeral years deposited, aa a rare tieasure of * 
art, m the library of the club. Eyen the author'a^ 
name, gentlemen, poimted him out as the historian of 
our art — Von Hammer 

• Yes, yes,' intorrupted Toad-in-the-hole^ * Voa 
Hammer — he*s the man for a mjidl^ut kisreHeorftm^ 
You all know what consideration Williams bestowed 
on the hammer, or the ship-carpenter's mallet, which 
is the same thing. Gentlemen, I give you anothm 
great hammec — Charles the Hammer, the Marteau, oz« 
in old French, the Maitel — he hammered the Saracen* 
till they were all as dead aa door-nails.* 

' Charles the Hammer, with aU the Ixmors.' 

But the explosion of Toad-in-the-hole, together 
with the uproarious cheers for the grandpagpA of Cluff* 
lemagne, had now made the company unmanageable. 
The orchestra was again challenged with shoute the 
stormiest for the new glee. I foresaw a tempestnous 
erening ; and 1 ordered myself to be strmigihenei with. 

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68 MtTBBEB. 

tliree waiters on eacH side ; tlie vice-president with as 
many. Symptoms of unruly enthusiasm were beginning 
to show out ; and I own that I myself was consider- 
ably excited, as the orchestra opened with its storm 
of music, and the impassioned glee began — ' £t in- 
terrogatum est k Toad-in-the-hole -7- Ubi est ille Re- 
porter?' And the frenzy of the passion became 
absolutely convulsing, as the full chorus fell in — * Et 
iteratum est-ab omnibus — Non est inventus.* 
The next toast was — The Jeuoish Sicarii, 
Upon which I made the following explanation to 
the company : — ' Gentlemen, I am sure it will interest 
you all to hear that the assassins, ancient as they were, 
had a race of predecessors in the very same country. 
'All over Syria, but particularly in Palestine, during 
the early years of the Emperor Nero, there was a band 
of murderers, who prosecuted their studies in a very 
novel manner. They did not practise in the night- 
time, or in lonely places ; but, justly considering that 
great crowds are in themselves a sort of darkness by 
means of the dense pressure, and the impossibility of 
finding out who- it was that gave the blow, they 
mingled with mobs everywhere; particularly at the 
great paschal feast in Jerusalem ; where they actually 
had the audacity, as Josephus assures us, to press into 
the temple — and whom should they choose for operat- 
ing upon but Jonathan himself, the Pontifex Maximus ? 
They murdered him, gentlemen, as beautifully as if 
they had had him alone on a moonless night in a dark 
lane. And when it was asked, who was the murderer, 

and where he was ' 

' Why then, it was answered,' interrupted Toad-in- 
the-hole, " Non est inventus" ' And then, in spite of 

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HtTBBBK. 69 

all I could do or say, the orchestra opened, and the 
whole company began — ' £t interrogatiun est k Toad- 
in-the-hole — XJbi est iUe Sicarius ? Et responsunf est 
ab omnibus — Non est invenlusJ 

When the tempestuous chorus had subsided, I be- 
gan again : — * Gentlemen, you wiU find a very cir- 
cimistantial account of the Sicarii in at least three 
different parts of Josephus ; once in Book XX., sec. 
y. c. 8, of his '' Antiquities ; '' once in Book I. of his 
•' Wars : " but in sec. x. of the chapter first cited you 
will find a particular description of their tooling. This 
is what he says : — '^ They tooled with small scimitars 
not much different from the Persian acinaca^ but 
more curved, and for all the world most like the Ro- 
man semi-lunar sica.** It is perfectly magnificent^ 
gentlemen, to hear the sequel of their history. Per- 
haps the Only case on record where a regular army of 
murderers was assembled, a Justus exerdtus, was in 
the case of these Sicarii. They mustered in such 
strength in the wildemess, that Festus himself wi^ 
obliged to march against them with the Roman legion- 
ary force. A pitched battle ensued ; and this army of 
amateurs was all cut to pieces in the desert. Heavens, 
gentlemen, what a sublime picture! The Roman 
legions — the wildemess — Jerusalem in the distance 
— an army of murderers in the foreground ! ' 

The next toast was — ' To the further improvement 
of Tooling, and thanks to the committee f6r their ser- 

Mr. L., on behalf of the Committee who had report- 
ed on that subject, returned thanks. He made an 
interesting extract from the report, by which it appear- 
ed how very much stress had been laid formerly on 

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1^ mode of tooUi^ by the falihers, both Oredk and 
Latin. In confinnation of ti»8 pleasing &ct, he made 
a very Btriking statement in reference io the earlietft 
work of antediluvian art. Father Mereenne, thait. 
learned Frendi Roman Catholic, in page <me thousand 
•four hundred and thirty^^one ^® of his op^rose Comm^i- 
tary on Genesis, mentions, on the authority of several 
Tabbis, that the quarrel of Cain with Abel was about a 
young woman ; that, according to die various accounts, 
Cain had tooled with his teeth (Abelem fuissemor^i^ 
dilaceratum i Oain) ; according to many others, with 
the jaw-bone of an ass, which is the tooling adopted 
by most painters. But it is pleasing to the mind of 
sensibility to know that, as science expanded, sounder 
views were adopted. One author contends for a pitch- 
fork, St. Chrysostotn for a sword, Ironeus for a scythe, 
and PrudentiuB, the Christian poet of the fourtii cen- 
;tury, for a hedging-bill. This iast writer dolirm hm 
opinion thus-: — 

' Frater, probates sanctitatis semrilTis, 
Germana corvo oolla frangit sarcnlo : * 

i. e., his brother, jealous of his attested sanctity, frac- 
tures his fraternal throat with a curved hedging-bill. 
*A11 which is respectfully submitted by your com- 
mittee, not so much as decisive of the question (for it 
is not), but in order to impress upon the youthful mind 
the importance which has ever been attached to the 
quality of the tooling by such men as Chrysostom and 

' Irenseus be hanged ! ' said Toad-in-the-hole, who 
now rose impatiently to give the next toast : — ' Our 
Irish Mends ; wishing them a speedy revolution in 

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tlieir mode of tooling, as well as in ererything «ke con- 
nected with the art r 

' Gentlemen, Til tell join the plain truth. Every 
day of the year we take up a paper, we read the open* 
ing of a mnrder. We say, this is good, tlus is charm« 
ing, Ihis is excellent ! But, b^ioM you ! scarc^y have 
We read a little farther, before the word Tipperflry or 
%allina-8ome1hing betrays the Irish mauufiustiue. In* 
Utantly we. loathe it ; we caH to the waiter ; we «ay, 
** waiter, take away this paper ; send it out of the 
house ; it is absolutely ti scandal in 4he nostrils of «M 
just taste.** I appeal to every man, whether, on find- 
ing a murder (otherwise perhaps promising enough) to 
be Irish, he does not feel himself as much insulted as 
when, Madeira being ordered, he finds it to be Cape ; 
or when, taking np what he takes to be a mushroom, 
it turns outrwhat children call a toad-stool. Tithes, 
politics, something wrong in princi]de, vitiate every 
Irish murder. Gentlemen, this must be Tdformed, or 
Ireland vnU not be a land to live in ; at least, if we do 
live there, we must import all our murders, that^ 
clear.' Toad-in-the-hole sat down, growling widi 
strppressed vnnath ; and the uproarious * Hear, hear ! ' 
clamorously expressed the general concurrence. 

The next toast was «— * The sublime epoch of £urk« 
ism and Harism ! ' 

This was drunk vdth enthusiasm ; and one of the 
members, who spoke to the question, made a very 
curious communication to the company : — ' Gentie- 
men, we fancy Burkism to be a pure invention of our 
own times : and in ftu^t no PanciroUus has ever enu- 
merated this biu&eh of art when writing de reiwf 
Htp^rditU. Still, I have aeee^tained that the essential 


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principle of tliis variety in the art was known to the 
ancients ; although, like the art of painting upon glass, 
of making the myrrhine xups, &c., it was lost in the 
dark ages for want of encouragement. . In the famous 
collection of Greek epigrams made by Planudes, is one 
upon a very fascinating case of Burkism : it is a per- 
fect little gem of art. The epigram itself I cannot lay 
my hand upon at this moment ; but the following is 
an abstract of it by Salmasius, as I find it in his notes 
on Vopiscus : '' Est et elegans epigramma Lucilii, ubi 
medicus et pollinctor de compacto sic egerunt, ut 
medicus segros omnes curse suae commissos occideret : 
this was the basis of the contract, you see, that on the 
one part the doctor, for himself and his assigns, doth 
undertake and contract duly and truly to murder all 
the patients committed to his charge: but why? 
There lies the beauty of the case — Et ut pollinctori 
amico suo traderet pollingendos." The pollinctor ^ 
you are aware, was a person whose business it was to 
dress and prepare dead bodies for burial. The orginal 
ground of the transaction appears to have been senti- 
mental : '* He was my friend," says the murderous 
doctor; ^'he was dear to me," in speaking of the pol- 
linctor. But the law, gentlemen, is stem and harsh : 
the law will not hear of these tender motives : to sus- 
tain a contract of this nature in law, it is essential that 
a ** consideration " should be given. Now what wtis 
the consideration ? For thus far all is on the side of 
the pollinctor : he will be well paid for his services ; 
but, meantime, the generous, the noble-minded doc- 
tor gets nothing. What was the equivalent, again I 
ask, which the law woidd insist on the doctor's takings 
in order to establish that '* consideration/' without 

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which the contract had no force ? You shall hear : 
" £t ut pollinctor vicissim rtXafieSvag quos furabatar de 
pollinctione mortuorum medico mitteret donis ad alii- 
ganda Yulnera eorum quos curabat ; " i. e., and that 
reciprocally the pollinctor should transmit to the phy- 
sician, as £ree gifts for the binding-up of wounds in 
those whom he treated medically, the belts or trusses 
(.rtXafuivag) which he had succeeded in purloining in 
the course of his functions about the corpses. 

' Now, the case is clear : the whole went on a prin- 
c^)le of reciprocity which would have kept up the 
trade for ever. The doctor was also a surgeon : he 
could not murder all his patients: some of the pa* 
tients must be retained intact. For these he wanted 
linen bandages. But, unhappily, the Romans wore 
woollen, on which account it was that they bathed so 
often. Meantime, there vfa$ linen to be had in Home ; 
but it was monstrously dear; and the rtkafi&vai, or 
linen swathing bandages, in which superstition obliged 
them to bind up corpses, would answer capitally for 
the surgeon. The doctor, therefore, contracts to fai' 
nish his Mend with a constant succession of corpses, 
provided, and be it understood always, that his said 
friend, in return, should supply him with one-half of 
the articles he would receive from the friends of the 
parties murdered or to be murdered. The doctor 
invariably recommended his invaluable friend the 
pollinctor (whom let us call the undertaker); the 
undertaker, with equal regard to the sacred rights of 
friendship, uniformly recommended the doctor. Like 
Pylades and Orestes, they were models of a perfect 
friendship: in their lives they were lovely: and on 
tiie gallows, it is to be hoped, they were not divided. 

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* Gentlemen, it makes me laugh horribly, when I 
think of those two friends drawing and re-drawing on 
each other : " PoUinctor in account with Doctor, debtor 
by sixteen corpses: creditor by forty-five bandages, 
two of which damaged." Their names unfortunately 
are lost ; but I conceive they must have been Quintus 
Burkius and Publius Harius. By the way, gentle- 
men, has anybody heard lately of Hare ? I understand 
he is comfortably settled in Ireland, considerably to 
the west, and does a little business now and then ; 
but, as he observes with a sigh, only as a retailer — 
nothing like the fine thriving wholesale concern so 
carelessly blown up at Edinburgh. "You see what 
comes of neglecting business ** — is the chief moral, 
the iTTijut/dioy, as iBsop would say, which Hare draws 
from his past experience.' 

At length came the toast of the day — Thugdom in 
all its branches. 

The speeches attempted at this crisis of the dinner 
were past all counting. But the applause was so 
furious, the music so stormy, and the crashing of 
glasses so incessant, from the general resolution never 
again to drink an inferior toast from the same glass, 
that I am imequal to the task of reporting. Besides 
which, Toad-in-the-hole now became ungovernable. 
Hq kept firing pistols in every direction; sent his 
servant for a blunderbuss, and talked of loading with 
ball-cartridge. We conceived that his former madness 
had returned at the mention of Burke and Hare ; or 
that, being again weary of life, he had resolved to go 
off in a general massacre. This we could not think 
of allowing; it became indispensable, therefore, to 
kick him out ; which we did with universal consent. 

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the whole company lending their toes uno pede^ as I 
may say, though pitying his gray hairs and his angelic 
smile. During the operation, the orchestra poured in 
their old chorus. The universal company sang, and 
(what surprised us most of all) Toad-in-the-hole 
joined us furiously in singing — 

* Et Interrogatum est ab omnibus — Ubi est ille Toad-in-the> 

£t responsom est ab onuiibiis — ^on est inveniui.* 

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Nonl. Pftee20. 
Kant — who carried his demands of unconditional yeracity 
to so extravagant a length as to affirm, that, if a man were to 
see an innocent person escape from a murderer, it would be his 
duty, ending questioned by the murderer, to tell the truth, and 
to point out the retreat of the innocent person, under any cer- 
tainty of causing mutder. Lest this doctrine should be supposed 
to haye escaped him in any heat of dispute, on being taxed with 
it by a celebrated French writer, he solemnly re-affirmed it, with 
his reasons. 

Note 2. Page 26. 
The passage occurs in the second part (act 8) of 'Henry 
YL,* and is doubly remarkable — first, for its critical fidelity to 
nature, were the description meant only for poetic efifect ; but, 
secondly, for the judicial value impressed upon it when offered 
(as here it is offered) in silent corroboration legally of a dreadM 
whisper all at once arising, that foul play had been dealing with 
a great prince, clothed with an official state character. It is the 
Duke of Gloucester, &ithftil guardian and loying uncle of the 
simple and imbecile king, who has been found dead in his bed. 
How shall this eyent be interpreted ' Had he died under some 
natural visitation of Proyidence, or by yiolence from his ene- 
mies ? The two court Actions read the circumstantial indications 
of the case into opposite constructions. The affectionate and 
afflicted young king, whose position almost pledges him to 
neutrality, cannot, neyertheless, disguise his oyerwhelming sus- 
picions of hellish tjonspiraoy in the background. Upon this, a 
leader of the queen's fiction endeayors to break the force of this 
royal frankness, countersigned and echoed most impressiyely by 


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N0TX8. 77 

Lord Warwick. 'What instance,* he asks — meaning by in- 
stance not example or Ulnstration, as thoughtless commentators 
haye constantly supposed, but in the common scholastie sense — 
what instantia, what pressure of argument, what urgent plea^ 
can Lord Warwick put forward in support of his * dreadM 
oath ' — an oath, namely, that, as surely as he hopes for the life 
etenial, so surely 

* I do belieye that violent hands were laid 
Upon the life of this thrice-fiunM duke.* 

Osteninbly the challenge is to Warwick, but substantially it is 
meant for the king. Ajid. the reply of Warwick, the argument 
on which he builds, lies in a solemn array of all the changes 
worked in the duke's features by death, as irreconcilable with 
any other hypothesis than that this death had been a violent one. 
What argument have I that Gloucester died under the hands of 
murderers ? Why, the following roll-call of awfiil changes, 
affecting head, &ce, nostrils, eyes, hands, &c., which do not be- 
long indifferently to any mode of death, but exclusively to a 
death by violence : — 

* But see, his fbce is black and Aill of blood; 
His eyeballs fieurther out than when he lived. 
Staring full ghastly, like a strangled man; 
His hair uprear'd, his* nostrils stretched with struggling; 
His hands abroad displayed, as one that gra^'d 
And tugg'd for life, and was by strength subdued. 
Look on the sheets : — his hair, you see, is sticking; 
His well-proportion'd beard made rough and rugged, 
Idke to the summer's com by tempest lodged. 
It cannot be but he was murder'd here; 
The least of all these signs were probable.* 

As the logic of the case, let us not for a moment forget, that, to 
be of any value, the signs and indications pleaded must be 
sternly diagnostic. The discrimination sought for is between 
death that is natural, and death that is violent. All indications, 
therefore, that belong equally and indifferently to either, are 
equivocal, useless, and alien from the very purpose of the signs 
here registered by Shakspeare. 

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78 NOTSS. 

Note 8. Page 26. 
At the time of writing this, I held the common opinion npon 
that subject. Mere inconsideration it was that led to So erro- 
neous a judgment. Since then, on closer reflection, I have seen 
ample reason to retract it : satisfied I now am, that the Romans, 
in CTery art which allowed to them any parity of advantages, had 
merits as racy, natiye, and characteristic, as the best of the 
Greeks. Elsewhere I shall plead this cause circumstantially, 
with the hope of conyerting the reader. In the meantime, I was 
anxious to lodge my protest against this ancient error; an error 
which commenced in the time-serying sycophancy of Virgil, the 
court-poet With the base purpose of gratifying Augustus in 
his yindictiye spitd against Cicero, and by way of introducing, 
therefore^ the little clause orabunt Cawas melius as applying 
to all Athenian against all Roman orators, Virgil did not scruple 
to sacrifice by wholesale the just pretensions of his compatriots 

Note 4. Page 88. 
This same argument has been employed at least once too 
often. Some centuries back a dauphin of France, when admon- 
' ished of hi^ risk from small-pox, made the same demand as the 
emperor — * Had any gentieman heard of a dauphin killed by 
small-pox ? ' No ; not any gentleman had heard of such a case. 
And yet, for all that, this dauphin died of that same small-pox. 

Note 5. Page 88. 
< June 1, 1675. — Drinke part of three boulesof punch (a 
liquor yery strainge to me),' says the Rey. Mr. Henry Teonge, 
in his Diary published by CS. Knight. In a note on this passage, 
a reference is made to Fryer's Travels to the East Indies, 1672, 
who speaks of * that enervating liquor called paunch (which is 
Hindostanee for five), from five ingredients.' Made thus, it 
seems the medical men called it diapente; if with four only, 
diatessaron. No doubt, it was this evangelical name that reconi« 
mended it to the Rev. Mr. Teonge. 

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VOTES. 79 

NcyiB 6. Page 87. 
Ghatsworth was then, as now, the superb seat of the Cayen« 
dishes in their highest branch — in those days Earl, at present 
Duke, of Devonshire. It is to the honor of this family that, 
through two generations, they gave an asylum to Hobbes. It is 
noticeable that Hobbes was bom in the year of the Spanish Ar- 
mada, i. e., in 1688 : such, at least, is my belief And, there- 
fore, at this meeting with Tennison in 1670, he must haye been 
about 82 years old. 

NoM 7. Page 40. 
^ Sjntal Sermons : * — Dr. Parr's chief public appearances as 
an author, after his original appearance in the fiunous Latin 
preface to BellendSnus (don't say BellendSnus), occurred in cer- 
tain Sermons at periodic interyals, deliyered on behalf of some 
hospital (I really forget what) which retained for its official de- 
signation the old word Spital ; and thus it happened that the 
Sermons themselyes were generally known by the title of Spital 

Note 8. Page 64. 
Abraham Newland is now utterly forgotten. But when this 
was written, his name had not ceased to ring in British ears, as 
the most familiar and most significant that perhaps has eyer ex- 
isted. It was the name which appeared on the face of all Bank 
of England notes, great or small; and had been, for more than a 
quarter of a century (especially through the whole career of the 
French Reyolution), a short-hand expression for paper money in 
its safest form. 

NoTB 9. Page 68. 
Her Majesty : — In the lecture, haying occasion to refer to the 
reigning soyereig^, I said * HU Mijesty ; ' for at that time 
William lY. was on the throne : but between the lecture and this 
supplement had occurred the accession of our present Queen. 

NoTB 10. Page 70. 
< Page one thousand four hundred and thirty-one:' — IvUrally^ 
good reader, and no joke at alL 

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What is to be thouglit of her 7 What is to be 
thought of the poor shepherd girl from the hills and 
forests of Lorraine, that — like the Hebrew shepherd 
boy from the hills and forests of Judaea — rose sud- 
denly out of the quiet, out of the safety, out of the re- 
ligious inspiration, rooted in deep pastoral solitudes, to 
a station in the van of armies, and to the more perilous 
station at the right hand of kings ? The Hebrew boy 
inaugurated his patriotic mission by an act, by a victo- 
rious acty such as no man could deny. But so did the 
girl of Lorraine, if we read her story as it was read by 
those who saw her nearest. Adverse armies bore wit- 
ness to the boy as no pretender ; but so they did to 
the gentle girl. Judged by the voices of all who saw 
them from a station of good-mil^ both, were found true 
and loyal to any promises involved in their first acts. 
Enemies it was that made the difference between their 
subsequent fortunes. The boy rose to a splendor and 
a noonday prosperity, both pen«onal and public, that 
rang through the records of his people, and became a 
by-word amongst his posterity for a thousand years, 
until the sceptre was departing from Judah. The poor, 
forsaken girl, on the contrary, drank not herself from 
that cup of rest which she had secured for France. 
She never sang together wil^ the songs that rose in her 


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82 JOAN 07 ABC. 

native Domremy, as eclioes to the departing steps of 
invaders. She mingled not in the festal dances at 
Vaucouleurs which celebrated in rapture the redemp- 
tion of France. No ! for her voice was then silent : 
no! for her feet were dust. Pure, innocent, noble- 
hearted girl ! whom, from earliest youth, ever I be- 
lieved in as full of truth and self-sacrifice, this was 
amongst the strongest pledges for thy truth, that never 
once — no, not for a moment of weakness — didst thou 
revel in the vision of coronets and honor from man. 
Coronets for thee ! O no ! Honors, if they come when 
all is over, are for those that share thy blood.^ Daugh- 
ter of Domremy, when the gratitude of thy king shall 
awaken, thou wilt be sleeping the slpep of the dead. 
Call her. King of France, but she will not hear thee ! 
Cite her by thy apparitors to come and receive a robe 
of honor, but she will be found en coniumace. When 
the thunders of universal France, as even yet may hap- 
pen, shall proclaim the grandeur of the poor shepherd 
girl that gave up all for her country, thy ear, young 
shepherd girl, will have been deaf for five centuries. 
To suffer and to do, that was thy portion in this life ; 
that was thy destiny ; and not for a moment was it 
hidden from thyself. Life, thou saidst, is short : and 
the sleep which is in the grave is long ! Let me use 
that life, so transitory, for the glory of those heavenly 
dreams destined to comfort the sleep which is so long. 
This pure creature — pure from every suspicion of 
even a visionary self-interest, even as she was pure in 
senses more obvious — never once did this holy child, 
as regarded herself, relax from her belief in the dark- 
ness that was travelling to meet her. She might not 
prefigure the very manner of her death ; she saw not 

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in vision, perhaps, the aerial altitude of the fiery scaf- 
fold, the spectators without end on every road pouring 
into Bouen as to a coronation, the surging smoke, the 
volleying flames, the hostile faces all around, the pity- 
ing eye that lurked but here and there, until nature 
and imperishable truth broke loose from artificial 
restraints ; — these might not be apparent through the 
mists of the hurrying future. But the vioice that 
called her to death, that she heard for ever. 

Great was the throne of France even in those days, 
and great was he that sat upon it : but well Joanna 
knew that not the throne, nor he that sat upon it, was 
for ker ; but, on the contrary, that she was for them / 
not she by them, but they by her, should rise from the 
dust. Gorgeous were the lilies of France, and for cen- 
turies had the privilege to spread their beauty over 
land and sea, until, in another century, the wrath of 
God and man combined to wither them ; but well 
Joanna knew, early at Domremy she had read that 
bitter truth, that the lilies of France would decorate 
no garland for her. Flower nor bud, beU nor blossom, 
would ever bloom for her. 

But stay. What reason is there for taking up this 
subject of Joanna precisely in the spring of 1847? 
Might it not have been left till the spring of 1947 ; or, 
perhaps, left till called for ? - Yes, but it is called for ; 
and clamorously. You are aware, reader, that amongst 
the many original thinkers whom modem France has 
produced, one of the reputed leaders is M. Michelet. 
All these writers are of a revolutionary cast ; not in a 
political sense merely, but in all senses ; mad, often- 
times, as March hares ; crazy with the laughing gas of 

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84 JOAN 07 ABC. 

recoTcred liberty; drunk with the wine-cup of their 
mighty revolution, snorting, whinnying, throwing up 
their heels, like wild horses in the boundless Panq)as, 
and running races of defiance with snipes, or with the 
winds, or with their own shadows, if they can find 
nothing else to challenge. Some time or other I, that 
hare leisure to read, may introduce you, that have not, 
to two or three dozen of these writers ; of whom I can 
assure you beforehand, that they are often profound, 
and at intervals are even as impassioned as if they 
were come of our best English blood. But now, con- 
fining our attention to M. Michelet, we in England — 
who know him best by his worst book, the book 
against priests, &c. — know him disadvantageously. 
That book is a rhapsody of incoherence. But his 
♦ History of France * is quite another thing. A 
man, in whatsoever craft he sails, cannot stretch 
away out of sight when he is Hnked to the windings 
of the shore by towing ropes of history. Facts, and 
&e consequences of fieicts, draw the writer back to the 
ftdconer's lure from the giddiest heights of speculation. 
Here, therefore — in his ' France ' — if not always free 
from flightiness, if now and then off like a rocket for 
an airy wheel in the clouds, M. Michelet, with natural 
politeness, never forgets that he has left a large audi- 
ence waiting for him on eartii, and gazing upwards in 
anxiety for his return :' return, therefore, he does. 
But history, though dear of certain temptations in one 
direction, has separate dangers of its own. It is im- 
possible so to write a history of f^rance, or of England 
-^ works becoming every hour more indispensable to 
the inevitably-political man of this day — without per- 
ilous openings for error. If I, for instance, on ths part 

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of England, should happen to turn my labors in that 
channel, and (on the model of Lord Percy going to 
Chevy Chase) 

' A TOW to God should make 
My pleasure in the Michelet woods 
Three summer days to take,* 

probably, from simple delirium, I might hunt M. 
Michelet into delirium tremens. Two strong angels 
stand by the side of history, whether French history or 
English, as heraldic supporters : the angd of research 
on the left hand, that must read millions of dusty 
parchments, and of pages blotted with lies ; the angel 
of meditation pn the right hand, that must cleanse these 
lying records with fire, even as of old the draperies of 
asbestos were cleansed, and must quicken them into 
regenerated life. Willingly I acknowledge that no 
;nan will ever avoid innumerable errors of detail ; with 
so vast a compass of groimd to traverse, this is impos- 
sible ; but such errors (though I have a bushel on 
hand, at M. Miehelet*s service) are not the game I 
chase ; it is the bitter and unfair spirit in which M. 
Michelet writes against England. Even that, after all, 
is but my secondary object ; the real one is Joanna, 
the Pucelle d' Orleans for herself. 

I am not going to write the History of La Pucelle : 
to do this, or even circumstantially to report the his- 
tory of her persecution and bitter death, of her strug- 
gle with fisdse witnesses and with ensnaring judges, it 
would be necessary to have before us aJl the docu- 
ments, and therefbre the collection only ^ now forth- 
coming in Paris. But my purpose is narrower. There 
have been great thinkers, disdaining the careless judg-* 
ments of contemporaries, who have thrown themselvei 

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boldly on the judgment of a far posterity, that should 
have had time to review, to ponder, to compare. There 
have been great actors on the stage of tragic humanity 
that might with the same depth of confidence, have 
^appealed from the levity of compatriot friends — too 
heartless for the sublime interest of their story, and 
too impatient for the labor of sifting its perplexities — 
to the magnanimity and justice of enemies. To this 
class belongs the Maid of Arc. The ancient Romans 
were too faithful to the ideal of grandeur in themselves 
not to relent, after a generation or two, before the 
grandeur of Hannibal. Mithridates — a more doubt- 
ful person — yet merely for the magic perseverance of 
his indomitable malice, won from the same Romans the 
only real honor that ever he received on earth. ,And 
we English have ever shown the same homage to stub- 
bom enmity. To work unflinchingly for the ruin of 
England ; to say through life, by word and by deed, 
Delenda est Anglia Victrix ! that one purpose of mal- 
ice, faithfully pursued, has quartered some people upon 
our national funds of homage as by a perpetual annu- 
ity. Better than an inheritance of service rendered 
to England herself, has sometimes proved the most 
insane hatred to England. Hyder Ali, even his son 
Tippoo, though so far inferior, and Napoleon, have all 
benefited by this disposition amongst ourselves to ex- 
aggerate the merit of diabolic enmity. Not one of 
these men was ever capable, in a solitary instance, of 
praising an enemy [what do you say to that^ reader ?], 
and yet, in their behalf, we consent to forget, not their 
crimes only, but (which is worse) their hideous bigotry 
and anti-magnanimous egotism, for nationality it was 
not. Sufi&ein, and some half dozen of other French 

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nautical heroes, because rightly they did us all the 
mischief they could (which was really great), are namea 
justly reverenced in England. On the same principle. 
La Pucelle d' Orleans, the victorious enemy of England, 
has been destined to receive her deepest commemora- 
tion from the magnanimous justice of Englishmen. 

Joanna, as we in England should call her, but, accord- 
ing to her own statement, Jeanne (or, as M. Michelet 
asserts, Jean ^) D'Arc, was bom at Domremy, a vil- 
lage on the marches of Lorraine and Champagne, and 
dependent upon the town of Vaucouleurs. I have 
called her a Lorrainer, not simply because the word 
is prettier, but because Champagne too odiously re- 
minds us English of what are for ils imaginary wines, 
which, undoubtedly, La Pucelle tasted as rarely as we 
English ; we English, because the Champagne of Lon- 
don is chiefly grown in Devonshire ; La Pucelle, be- 
cause the Champagne of Champagne never, by any 
chance, flowed into the fountain of Domremy, from 
which only she drank. M. Michelet will have her to 
be a Champenoise, and for no better reason than that 
she ^ took after her father,' who happened to be a Cham" 

These disputed, however, turn on refinements too 
nice. Domremy stood upon the frontiers, and, like 
other frontiers, produced a mixed race representing the 
CM and the trans. A river (it is true) formed the 
boundary-line at this point — the river Meuse; and 
that, in old days, might have divided the populations ; 
but in these days it did not : there were bridges, there 
were ferries, and weddings crossed from the right bank 
to the left. Here lay two great roads, not so much 
for travellers that were f3w^ as for armies that were 

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86 JOAK 09 ABC. 

too many by half. These two roads, one of which 
was the great Mgh road between France and Germany, 
decussated at this very point ; which is a learned way 
of saying, that they formed a St. Andrew's cross, or 
letter X. I hope the compositor will dioose a good 
large X, in which case the point of intersection, tho 
locus of conflux and intersection for these four diverg- 
ing arms, will finish the reader's geographical educa- 
tion, by showing him to a hair's-breadth where it was 
that Domremy stood. Those roads, so grandly situa- 
ted, as great trunk arteries between two mighty 
realms,^ and haunted for ever by wars, or rumors of 
wars, decussated (for an3rthing I know to tiie contrary) 
absolutely under Joanna's bedroom window ; one roll- 
ing away to the right, past Monsieur B' Arc's old bam, 
and the other unaccountably preferring to sweep round 
that odious man's pigsty to the left. 

On whichever side of the border chance had thrown 
•Foanna, the same love to France would have been nur- 
tured. For it is a strange fact, noticed by M. Michdet 
and others, that the Dukes of Bar and Lorraine had 
for generations pursued the policy of eternal warfare 
with France on their own account, yet also of eternal 
amity and league wil^ France, in case anybody else 
presumed to attack her. Let peace settle upon France, 
and before long you might rely upon seeing the little 
vixen Lorraine flying at the throat of France. Let 
France be assailed by a formidable enemy, and in- 
stantly you saw a Duke of Lorraine insisting on hav- 
ing his own throat cut in support of France ; which 
fhvor accordingly was cheerfully granted to him in 
three great successive batdes — twice by the English, 
^., at Crecy and Agincourt, oaoe b^ the Sultan at 

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/OAK Ot JLBC. 89 

This sympathy witii France during great eclipses, in 
those that during ordinary seasons were always teasing 
her with brawls and guerilla inroads, strengthened the 
natural piety to France of those that were confessedly 
the children of her own house. The outposts of 
France, as one may call the great frontier provinces, 
were of all localities the most devoted to the Fleurs 
de Lys. To witness, at any great crisis, the generous 
devotion to these lilies of the little fiery cousin that 
in gentler weather was for ever tilting at the breast of 
France, could not but fan the zeal of France's legiti- 
mate daughters : whilst to occupy a post of honor on 
the frontiers against an old hereditary enemy of France, 
would naturally stimulate this zeal by a sentiment of 
martial pride, by a sense of danger always threatening, 
and of hatred always smouldering. That great four- 
headed road was a perpetual memento to patriotic 
ardor. To say, this way lies the road tp Paris, and 
that other way to Aix-la-Chapelle — this to Prague, 
that to Vienna — nourished the warfare of the heart 
by daily ministrations of sense. The eye that watched 
for the gleams of lance or helmet from the hostile 
frontier, the ear that listened for the groaning of 
wheels, made the high road itself, with its relations to 
centres so remote, into a manual of patriotic duty. 

The situation, therefore, locally^ of Joanna was full 
of profound suggestions to a heart that listened for the 
stealthy steps of change and fear that too surely were 
in motion. But, if the place were grand, the time, 
the burden of the time, was far more so. The air 
overhead in its upper chambers was hurtling with the 
obscure sound; was dark with sullen fermenting of 
storms that had been gathering for a hundred and 

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thirty years. The battle of Agincourt in Joanna's 
childhood had re-opened the wounds of France. Cr6cy 
and Poictiers, those withering overthrows for the 
chivalry of France, had, before Agincourt occurred, 
been tranquillized by more than half a century ; but 
this resurrection of their trumpet wails made the 
whole series of battles and endless skirmishes take 
their stations as parts in one drama. The graves that 
had clojsed sixty years ago, seemed to fly open in sym- 
pathy with a sorrow that echoed their own. The 
monarchy of France labored in extremity, rocked and 
reeled like a ship fighting with the darkness of mon- 
soons. The madness of the poor king (Charles VI.) 
falling in at such a crisis, like the case of women 
laboring in childbirth during the storming of a city, 
trebled the awfulness of the time. Even the wild 
story of the incident which had immediately occasioned 
the explosion of this madness — the case of a man 
unknown, gloomy, and perhaps maniacal himself, 
coming out of a forest at noonday, laying his hand 
upon the bridle of the king's horse, checking him for 
a moment to say, ' Oh, king, thou art betrayed,' and 
then vanishing, no man knew whither, as he had ap- 
peared for no man knew what — fell in with the uni- 
versal prostration of mind that laid France on her 
knees, as before the slow unweaving of some ancient 
prophetic doom. The famines, the extraordinary dis- 
eases, the insurrections of the peasantry up and down 
Europe — these were chords struck from the same 
mysterious harp; but these were transitory chords. 
There have been others of deeper and more ominous 
sound. The termination of the Crusades, the destruc- 
tion of the Templars, the Papal interdicts, the tragedies 

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caused or suffered by the house of Anjou, and by the 
emperor — these were full of a more permanent signi- 
ficance. But, since then, the colossal figure of feudal- 
ism was seen -standing, as it were, on tiptoe, at Cr^cy, 
for flight from earth : that was a revolution unparal- 
leled ; yet that was a trifle, by comparison with the 
more fearful revolutions that were mining below the 
church. By her own internal schisms, by the abomi- 
nable spectacle of a double pope — so that iu> man, 
except through political bias, could even guess which 
was Heaven's vicegerent, and which the creature of 
hell — the church was rehearsing, as in still earlier 
forms she had already rehearsed, those vast rents in 
her foundations which no man should ever heal. 

These were the loftiest peaks of the cloudland in the 
skies, that to the scientific gazer first caught the colors 
of the new morning in advance. But the Whole vast 
range alike of sweeping glooms overhead, dwelt upon 
all meditative minds, even upon those that could not 
distinguish the tendencies nor decipher the forms. It 
was, therefore, not her own age alone, as affected by 
its immediate calamities, that lay with such weight 
upon Joanna's mind ; but her own age, as one section 
in a vast mysterious drama, unweaving through a cen- 
tury back, and drawing nearer continually to some 
dreadful crisis. Cataracts and rapids were heard 
roaring ahead ; and signs were seen far back, by help 
of old men's memories, which answered secretly to 
signs now coming forward on the eye, even as locks 
answer to keys. It was not wonderful that in such a 
haunted solitude, with such a haunted heart, Joanna 
should see angelic visions, and hear angelic voices. 
These voices whispered to her for ever the duty, self- 

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92 JOA.K 09 AKO. 

imposed, of deliyering France. Five years she listened 
to these monitory voices wit^ internal struggles. At 
length she could resist no longer. Doubt gave way ; 
and she left her home for ever in order to present her- 
self at the dauphin's court. 

The education of this poor girl was mean according 
to the present standard : was ineffably grand, accord- 
ing to a purer philosophic standard : and only not good 
lor our age, because for us it would be unattainable. 
She read nothing, for she could not read ; but she had 
heard others read parts of the Roman martyrology. 
She wept in sympathy with the sad Misereres of thd 
Romish church ; she rose to heaven with the glad tri- 
umphant Te Deums of Rome : she drew her comfort and 
her vital strength from the rites of the same church. 
But, next after these spiritual advantages, she owed most 
to the advantages of her situation. The fountain of Dom- 
remy was on the brink of a boundless forest ; and it ^as 
kaimted to that degree by fairies, that the parish prieist 
{cure) was obliged to read mass there once a-year, in 
order to keep them in any decent bounds. Fairies ard 
important, even in a statistical view: certain weeds 
mark poverty in the soil, fairies mark its solitude. As 
surely as the wolf retires before cities, does the fairy 
sequester herself from the haunts of the licensed vict- 
ualler. A village is too much for her nervous delicacy : 
at most, she can tolerate a distant view of a hamlet. 
We may judge, therefore, by the uneasiness and extra 
trouble which they gave to the parson, in what 
strength the fairies mustered at Domremy ; and, by^a 
satisfactory consequence, how thinly sown with men 
and women must have been that region even in its 
inhabited spots. But the forests of Domr6my — those 

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w^re the glories of the land : for in them abode myn-^ 
terious power and ancient secrets that towered into 
tragic strength. 'Abbeys there were, and abbey 
windows/ — ' like Moorish temples of the Hindoos,* 
that exercised even princely power both in Lorraine 
«nd in the German Diets. These had their sweet bells 
that pierced the forests for many a league at matins 
or vespers, and each its own dreamy legend. Few 
enough, and scattered enough, were these abbeys, so 
aa in no degree to disturb the deep solitude of the 
region ; yet many enough to spread a network or awn- 
ing of Christian sanctity over what else might have 
seemed a heathen wilderness. This sort of religious 
talisman being secured, a man the most a&aid of 
ghosts (like myself, suppose, or the reader) becomes 
armed into courage to wander for days in their sylvan 
recesses. The mountains of the Vosges, on the east- 
em frontier of France, have never attracted much 
XK)tiee from Europe, except in 1813-14 for a few 
brief months, when they fell within Napoleon's line 
of defence against the Allies. But they are interest*- 
ing for this, amongst other fieatures, that they do not> 
like some loftier ranges, jrepel woods : the forests and 
the hills are on sociable terms. Live and let live, is 
their motto. For this reason, in part, these tracts in 
Lorraine were a favorite hunting-ground with the 
Carlovingian princes. About six hundred years before 
Joanna's childhood, Charlemagne was known to have 
hunted there. That, of itself, was a grand incident 
in the traditions of a forest or a chase. In these vast 
forests, also, were to be found (if anywhere to be 
found) those mysterious fawns that tempted solitary 
kimtera into visionary and perilous pursuits. Hen 

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94 /OAN 07 ABO. 

was seen (if anywiiere seen) that ancient stag who 
was already nine hundred years old, but possibly a 
hundred or two more, when met by Charlemagne ; and 
the thing was put beyond doubt by the inscription 
upon his golden collar. I believe Charlemagne knight- 
ed the stag ; and, if ever he is met again by a king, he 
ought to be made an earl — or, being upon the marches 
of France, a marquis. Observe, I don't absolutely 
vouch for all these things: my own opinion varies. 
On a fine breezy forenoon I am audaciously sceptical ; 
but, as twilight sets in, my credulity grows steadily, 
till it becomes equal to anything that could be desired. 
And I have heard candid sportsmen declare that, out- 
side of these very forests, they laughed loudly at all 
the dim tales connected with their haunted solitudes ; 
but, on reaching a spot notoriously eighteen miles 
deep within them, they agreed with Sir Roger de Cov- 
erley, that a good deal might be said on both sides. 

Such traditions, or any others that (like the stag) 
connect distant generations with each other, are, for 
that cause, sublime ; and the sense of the shadowy, 
connected with such appearances that reveal themselves 
or not according to circumstances, leaves a coloring of 
sanctity over ancient forests, even in those minds that 
utterly reject the legend as a fact. 

But, apart from all distinct stories of that order, in 
any solitary frontier between two great empires, as 
here, for instance, or in the desert between Syria and 
the Euphrates, there is an inevitable tendency in 
minds of any deep sensibility, to people the solitudes 
with phantom images of powers that were of old so 
vast. Joanna, therefore, in her quiet occupation of a 
shepherdess, would be led continually to brood over 

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JOAN 07 ABC. 95 

the political condition of her country, by the traditions 
of the past no less than by the mementoes of the local 

M. Michelet, indeed, says that La Pucelle was not a 
shepherdess. I beg his pardon : she was. What he 
rests upon, I guess pretty well : it is the evidence of a 
woman called Haumette, the most confidential friend 
of Joanna. Now, she is a good witness, and a good 
girl, and I like her ; for she makes a natural and affec- 
tionate report of Joanna's ordinary life. But still, 
however good she may be as a witness, Joanna is 
better ; and she, when speaking to the dauphin, calls 
herself in the Latin report Bergereta, Even Haumette 
confesses, that Joanna tended sheep in her girlhood. 
And I believe, that if Miss Haumette were taking 
coffee alone with me this very evening (February 12, 
1847) — in which there would be no subject for scandal 
for or maiden blushes, because I am an intense philo- 
sopher, and Miss H. would be hard upon four hundred 
and fifty years old — she would admit the following 
comment, upon her evidence to be right. A French- 
man, about forty years ago, M. Simond, in his ' Travels,' 
mentions incidently the following hideous scene as one 
steadily observed and watched by himself in chivalrous 
France, not very long before the French Revolution : 
— A peasant was ploughing ; the team that drew his 
plough was a donkey and a woman. Both were regu- 
larly harnessed : both pulled alike. This is bad 
enough ; but the Frenchman adds, that, in distribut- 
ing his lashes, the peasant was obviously desirous of 
being impartial ; or, if either of the yoke-fellows had 
a rig^t to complain, certainly it was not the donkey. 
Now, in any country where such degradation of fe- 

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males could be tolerated by the state of maimers, a 
woman of delicacy would shrink from acknowledging, 
either for herself or her friend, that she had ever been 
addicted to any mode of labor not strictly domestic ; 
because, if once owning herself a praedial servant, she 
would be sensible that this confession extended by pro- 
bability in the hearer's thoughts to the having incurred 
indignities of this horrible kind. Haumette clearly 
thinks it more dignified for Joanna to have been darn- 
ing the stockings of her homy -hoofed father, Monsieur 
D'Arc, than, keeping sheep, lest she might then be 
suspected of having ever done something worse. But, 
luckily, there was no danger of tliat : Joanna never 
was in service ; and my opinion is, that her father 
should have mended his own stockings, since probably 
he was the party to make holes in them, as many a 
better man than D'Arc does ; meaning by that not my- 
self, because, though probably a better man than D' Arc, 
I proteiSt against doing anything of the kind. If I 
lived even with Friday in Juan Fernandez, either Fri- 
day must do all the darning, or else it must go un- 
done. The better men that I meant were the sailors 
in the British navy, every man of whom mends his 
own stockings. Who else is to do it ? Do you sup- 
pose, reader, that the junior lords of the admiralty are 
under articles to dam for the navy ? 

The reason, meantime, for my systematic hatred of 
D'Arc is this. There was a story current in France 
before the Revolution, framed to ridicule the pauper 
aristocracy, who happened to have long pedigrees and 
short rent rolls, viz., that a head of such a house, dating 
from the Crusades, was overheard saying to his son, a 
Chevalier of St. Louis, ' Chevalier, as-tu donne au 

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cochan a manger ! ' Now, it is clearly made out by 
the surviving evidence, that D'Arc would much have 
preferred continuing to say, ' Ma file as-tu dorme au 
cochon d manger 7 ' to saying, Pueelle d' Orleans, as-tu 
sauve los fleurs-de-lys 7 ' There is an old English copy 
of verses which argues thus : — 

< If the man that tamips cries, 
Cry not when his &ther dies <— 
Then 'tis plain the man had rather — 
Have a turnip than his father.' 

I cannot say that the logic in i;hese versus was ever 
entirely to my satisfaction. I do not see my way 
through it as clearly as could be wished. But I see 
my way most clearly through D'Arc ; and the result 
is — that he would greatly have preferred not mere- 
ly a turnip to his father, but saving a pound or so of 
bacon to saving the Oriflamme of France. 

It is probable (as M. Michelet suggests) that the 
title of Virgin, or Pueelle, had in itself, and apart 
from the miraculous stories about her, a secret power 
over the rude soldiery and partisan chiefs of that 
period ; for, in such a person, they saw a representa- 
tive manifestation of the Virgin Mary, who in a 
course of centuries, had grown steadily upon the 
popular heart. 

As to Joanna's supernatural detection of the dauphin 
(Charles VII.) amongst three hundred lords and 
knights, I am surprised at the credulity which could 
ever lend itself to that theatrical juggle. Who ad- 
mires more than myself the sublime enthusiasm, the 
rapturous faith in herself, of this pure creature ? But 
I am far from admiring stage artifices, which not La 
PuceUe, but the court, must have arranged ; nor can 

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surrender myself to the conjurer's legerdemain, sucli 
as may be seen every day for a shilling. Southey's 
'Joan of Arc ' was published in 1796. Twenty years 
after, talking with Southey, I was surprised to find 
him still owning a secret bias in favor of Joan, founded 
on her detection of the dauphin. The story, for the 
benefit of the reader new to the case, was this : — La 
PuceUe was first made known to the dauphin, and pre- 
sented to his court, at Chinon: and here came her 
first trial. By way of testing her supernatural pre- 
tensions, she was to find out the royal personage 
amongst the whole ark of clean and imclean creatures. 
Failing in this coup d'essai, she would not simply dis- 
appoint many a beating heart in the glittering crowd 
that on different motives yearned for her success, but 
she would ruin herself — and, as the oracle within had 
told her, would, by ruining herself, ruin France. Our 
own sovereign lady Victoria rehearses annually a trial 
not so severe in degree, but the same in kind. She 
' pricks ' for sheriffs. Joanna pricked for a king. But 
observe the difference: our own lady pricks for two 
men out of three ; Joanna for one man out of three 
hundred. ' Happy Lady of the islands and the orient ! 
— she can go astray in her choice only by one half; 
to the extent of one half she must have the satisfaction 
of being right. And yet, even with these tight limits 
to the misery of a boundless discretion, permit me, 
liege Lady, with all loyalty, to submit — that now and 
then you prick .with your pin the wrong man. But 
tbe poor child from Domremy, shrinking under the 
gaze of a dazzling court — not because dazzling (for in 
visions she had seen those that were more so), but 
because some of them wore a scofiing smile on their 

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features — how should sJie throw her line into so deep 
a river to angle for a king, where many a gay creature 
was sporting that masqueraded as kings in dress ? 
Nay, even more than any true king would have done : 
for, in Southey's version of the story, the dauphin 
says, hy way of trying the virgin's magnetic sympathy 
with royalty, 

< On the throne, 
I the while mingling with the menial throng, 
Some courtier shall be seated.' 

This usurper is even crowned : ' the jewelled crown 
shines on a menial's head.' But, really, that is ' un 
peu fort ; ' and the mob of spectators might raise a 
scruple whether our friend the jackdaw upon the throne, 
and the dauphin himself, were not grazing the shins 
of treason. For the dauphin could not lend more than 
belonged to him. According to the popular notion, 
he had no crown for himself ; consequently none to 
lend, on any pretence whatever, until the consecrated 
Maid should take him to Rheims. This was the popw- 
lar notion in France. But, certainly, it was the 
dauphin's interest to support the popular notion, as 
he meant to use the services of Joanna. For, if he 
were king already, what was it that she could do for 
him beyond Orleans ? That is to say, what more than 
a mere military service could she render him ? And, 
above all, if he were king without a coronation, and 
without the oil from the sacred ampulla, what advan- 
tage was yet open to him by celerity above his com- 
petitor the English boy ? Now was to be a race for a 
coronation : he that should win that race, carried the 
fuperstition of France along with him : he that should 

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first be drawn from the o^ens of Rheims, was tinder 
that superstition baked into a king. 

La Pucelle, before she could be allowed to practise 
as a warrior, was put through her manual and platoon 
exercise, as a pupil in divinity, at the bar of six emi- 
nent men in wigs. According to Southey (v. 893, 
Book III., in the original edition of his * Joan of 
Arc '), she ' appalled the doctors.' It's not easy to do 
that : but they had some reason to feel bothered, as 
that surgeon would assuredly feel bothered, who, upon 
proceeding to dissect a subject, should find the subject 
retaliating as a . dissector upon himself, especially if 
Joanna ever made the speech to them which occupies 
V. 354-391, B. III. It is a double impossibility : 1st, 
because a piracy from Tindal's ' Christianity as old as 
Hhe Creation ' — a piracy d parte ante, and by three 
centuries ; 2dly, it is quite contrary to the evidence on 
Joanna's trial. Southey's ' Joan,' of A. d. 1796 (Cot- 
tle, Bristol), tells the doctors, amongst other secrets, 
that she never in her life attended — 1st, Mass ; noT 
2d, the Sacramental table ; nor 3d, Confessioh. In 
the meantime, all this deistical confession of Joanna's, 
besides being suicidal for the interest of her cause, is 
opposed to the depositions upon both trials. The very 
best witness called from first to last, deposes that 
Joanna attended these rites of her church even too 
often; was taxed with doing so; and, by blushing, 
owned the charge as a fact, though certainly not as a 
fault. Joanna was a girl of natural piety, that saw 
God in forests, and hills, and fountains ; but did not 
the less seek him in chapels and consecrated oratories. 

This peasant girl was self-educated through her own 
natural meditativeness. If the ireader turns to tfast 

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diyine passage in ' Paradise Hegaiaed/ wliich Milton 
Las put into the mouth of our Saviour when first en-^ 
tering the wilderness, and musing upon the tendency 
of those great impulses growing within himself — 

* Oh, what a multitude of thoughts at onoe 
Awaken'd m me swarm, while I oonsider 
What from within I feel myself, and hear 
What from without comes often to my ears, 
HI sorting with my present state compared! 
When I was yet a child, no childish play 
To me was pleasing; all my mind was set 
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do 
What might be public good; myself I thought 
Born to that end ' — 

he will have some notion of the vast reveries which 
prooded over the heart of Joanna in early girlhood, 
when the wings were budding that should carry her 
from Orleans to Rheims ; when the golden chariot was 
dimly revealing itself, that should carry her from the 
kingdom of France Delivered to the eternal kingdom. 
It is not requii&ite, for the honor of Joanna, nor is 
there, in this place, room to pursue her hrief career of 
action. That, though wonderful, forms the earthly 
part of her story : the spiritual part is the saintly pas- 
sion of her imprisonment, trial, and execution. It is 
unfortunate, therefore, for Sou they *s ' Joan of Arc * 
(which, however, should always be regarded as a 
juvenile effort), that, precisely when her real glory 
begins, the poem ends. But this limitation of the 
interest grew, no doubt, from the constraint inseparably 
attached to the law of epic unity. Joanna's history 
bisects into two opposite hemispheres, and both could 
not have been presented to the eye in one poem, un- 
less by sacrificing all unity of theme, or else by involv- 

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ing the eaxlier half, as a narrative episode, in the 
latter ; which, however, might have been done, for it 
might have been communicated to a fellow-prisoner, 
or a confessor, by Joanna herself. It is sufficient, as 
concerns this section of Joanna's life, to say that she 
fulfilled, to the height of her promises, the restoration 
of the prostrate throne. France had become a prov- 
ince of England ; and for the ruin of both, if such a 
yoke could be maintained. Dreadful pecuniary ex- 
haustion caused the English energy to droop; and 
that critical opening La Pucelle used with a Corres- 
ponding felicity of audacity and suddenness (that were 
in themselves portentous) for introducing the wedge 
of French native resources, for rekindling the national 
priderand for planting the dauphin once more upon 
his feet. When Joanna appeared, he had been on the 
point of giving up the struggle with the English, dis- 
tressed as they were, and of flying to the south of 
France. She taught him to blush for such abject 
counsels. She liberated Orleans, that great city, so 
decisive by its fate for the issue of the war, and then 
beleagured by the English with an elaborate applica- 
tion of ^ engineering skill unprecedented in Europe. 
Entering the city after sunset, on the 29th of April, 
she sang mass on Sunday, May 8, for the entire dis- 
appearance of the besieging force. On the 29 th of 
June, she fought and gained over the English the 
decisive battle of Patay ; on the 9th of July, she took 
Troyes by a coup-de-main from a mixed garrison of 
English and Burgundians ; on the 15th of that month, 
she carried the dauphin into Rheirhs; on Sunday 
the 17th, she crowned him ; and there she rested 
from her labor of triumph. All that was to be donCf 

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she liad now accomplished : what remained was — to 

All this forward movement was her own : excepting 
one man, the whole council was against her. Her 
enemies were all that drew power from earth. Her 
supporters were her own strong enthusiasm, and the 
headlong contagion by which she carried this sublime 
frenzy into the hearts of women, of soldiers, and of all 
who lived by labor. Henceforwards she was thwarted ; 
and the worst error that she committed was, to lend 
the sanction of her presence to counsels which she had 
ceased to approve. But she had now accomplished 
the capital objects which her own visions had dictated. 
These involved all the rest. Errors were now less 
important ; and doubtless it had now become more 
difficult for herself to pronounce authentically what 
were errors. The noble girl had achieved, as by a 
rapture of motion, the capital end of clearing out a 
free space around her sovereign, giving him the power 
to move his arms with effect ; and, secondly, the inap- 
preciable end of winning for that sovereign what seem- 
ed to all France the heavenly ratification of his rights, 
by crowning him with the ancient solemnities. She had 
made it impossible for the English now to step before 
her. They were caught in an irretrievable blunder, 
owing partly to discord amongst the uncles of Henry 
VI., partly to a want of funds, but partly to the very 
impossibility which they believed to press with tenfold 
force upon any French attempt to forestall theirs. 
They laughed at such a thought; and whilst they 
laughed, she did it. Henceforth the single redress 
for the English of this capital Oversight, but which 
never could have redressed it effectually, was, to vitiate 

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and taint the coronation of Charles VII. as the work 
of a witch. That policy, and not malice (as M. 
Michelet is so happy to believe), was the moving 
principle in the subsequent prosecution of Joanna. 
Unless they unhinged the force of the first coronation 
in the popular mind, by associating it with power given 
from hell, they felt that the sceptre of the invader 
was broken. 

But she, the child that, at nineteen, had wrought 
wonders so great for France, was she not elated ? Did 
she not lose, as men so often Aove lost, all sobriety of 
mind when standing upon the pinnacle/of success so 
giddy? Let her enemies declare. During the pro- 
gress of her movement, and in the centre of ferocious 
struggles, she had manifested the temper of her feel- 
ings, by the pity which she had everywhere expressed 
for the suffering enemy. She forwarded to the English 
leaders a touching invitation to unite with the French, 
as brothers, in a common crusade against infidels, thus 
opening the road for a soldierly retreat. She inter- 
posed to protect the captive or the wounded — ^^she 
mourned over the excesses of her countrymen — she 
threw herself off her horse to kneel by the dying 
English soldier, and to comfort him with such minis- 
trations, physical or spiritual, as his situation allowed. 
* Nolebat,' says the evidence, ' uti ense suo, aut quem- 
quam intcrficere.* She sheltered the English, that 
invoked her aid, in her own quarters. She wept as 
she beheld, stretched on the field of battle, so many 
brave enemies that had died without confession. And, 
as regarded herself, her elation expressed itself thus : 
— On the day when she had finished her work, she 
wept ; for she knew that, when her triumphal task wat 

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jojkss ajr ABC. 105 

done, her end must be approaching. Her aspirations 
pointed only to a place, which seemed to her more 
than usually full of natural piety, as one in which it 
would give her pleasure to die. And she uttered, 
between smiles and tears, as a wish that inexpressibly 
^scinated her heart, and yet was half-fantastic, a 
broken prayer, that God would return her to the soli- 
tudes from which he had drawn her, and suffer her to 
become a shepherdess once more. It was a natural 
prayer, because nature has laid a necessity upon every 
human heart to seek for rest, and to shrink from 
torment. Yet, again, it was a half-fantastic prayer, 
because, &om childhood upwards, visions that she had 
no power to mistrust, and the voices which sounded in 
her ear for ever, had long since persuaded her mind, 
that for her no such prayer could be granted. Too 
well she felt that her mission must be worked out to 
the end, and that the end was now at hand. All 
went wrong from this time. She herself had created 
the fiinds out of which the French restoration should 
grow ; but she was not suffered to witness their de- 
v^opment, or their prosperous application. More 
than one military plan was entered upon which she 
did not approve. But she still continued to expose 
her person as before. Severe wounds had not taught 
her caution. And at length, in & sortie from Com- 
pieigne (whether through treacherous collusion on the 
part of her own friends is doubtful to this day), she 
was made prisoner by the Burgundians, and finally 
surrendered to the English. 

Now came her trial. This trial, moving of courae 
tmder English influence, was conducted in chief by the 
Bishop of Beauvais. He was a French^ ^uv, «old to 

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English interests, and hoping, by favor of the Eng« 
lish leaders, to reach the highest preferment. Bishop 
that art. Archbishop that shalt he, Cardinal that mayest 
he, were the words that sounded continually in his ear ; 
and doubtless, a whisper of visions still higher, of a 
triple crown, and feet upon the necks of kings, some- 
times stole into his heart. M. Michelet is anxious to 
keep us in mind that this bishop was but an agent of 
the English. True. But it does not better the case 
for his countryman — that, being an accomplice in the 
crime, making himself the leader in the persecution, 
against the helpless girl, he was willing to be all this 
in the spirit, and with the conscious vileness of a cat's- 
paw. Never from the foundations of the earth was 
there such a trial as this, if it were laid open in all its 
beauty of defence, and all its hellishness of attack. Oh, 
child of France ! shepherdess, peasant girl ! trodden 
under foot by all around thee, how I honor thy flash- 
ing intellect, quick as God's lightning, and true as 
God*s lightning to its mark, that ran before France 
and laggard Europe by many a century, confounding 
the malice of the ensnarer, and making dumb the 
oracles of falsehood ! Is it not scandalous, is it 
not humiliating to civilization, that, even at this 
day, France exhibits the horrid spectacle of judges 
examining the prisoner against himself; seducing 
him, by fraud, into treacherous conclusions against 
his own head ; using the terrors of their power for 
extorting confessions from the frailty of hope; nay 
(which is worse), using the blandishments of conde- 
scension and snaky kindness for thawing into compli- 
ances, of gratitude those whom they had failed to 
6reeze into terror ? Wicked judges ! Barbarian juris- 

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prudence! that, sitting in your own conceit on the 
summits of social wisdom, have yet failed to learn the 
first principles of criminal justice ; sit ye humhly and 
with docility at the feet of this girl from Domremy, 
that tore your wehs of cruelty into shreds and dust. 
' Would you examine me as a witness against myself ? ' 
was the question by which many times she defied their 
arts. Continually she showed that their interrogations 
were irrelevant to any business before the court, or 
that entered into the ridiculous charges against her. 
General questions were proposed to her on points of 
casuistical divinity; two-edged questions, which not 
one of themselves could have answered without, on 
the one side, landing himself in heresy (as then inter^ 
preted), or, on the other, in some presumptuous 
expression of self-esteem. Next came a wretched 
Dominican, that pressed her with an objection, which, 
if applied to the Bible would tax every one of its 
miracles with unsoiindness. The monk had the excuse 
of never having read the Bible. M. Michelet has no 
such excuse ; and it makes one blush for him, as a 
philosopher, to find him describing such an argument 
as ' weighty,* whereas it is but a varied expression of 
rude Mahometan metaphysics. Her answer to this, if 
there were room to place the whole in a clear light, 
was as shattering as it was rapid. Another thought 
to entrap her by asking what language the angelic 
visitors of her solitude had talked ; as though heavenly 
counsels could want polyglot interpreters for every 
word, or that God needed language at all in whisper- 
ing thoughts to a human heart. Then came a worse 
devil, who asked her whether the archangel Michael had 
appeared naked. Not comprehending the vile insinua* 

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106 rOJLHf 07 ABO. 

tion, Joanna, whose poverty suggested to her simplicity 
that it might be tiie costliness of suitable robes which 
caused the demur, asked them if they fancied God, 
who clothed the flowers of the valleys, unable to find 
raiment for his servants. The answer of Joanna 
moves a smile of tenderness, but the disappointment 
of her judges makes one laugh exultingly. Others 
succeeded by troops, who upbraided her with leaving 
her father ; as if that greater Father, whom she believed 
herself to have been serving, did not retain the power 
of dispensing with his own rules, or had not said, 
that, for a less cause than martyrdom, man and woman 
"hould leave both father and mother. 

On Easter Sunday, when the trial had been long 
proceeding, the poor girl fell so ill as to cause a belief 
that she had been poisoned. It was not poison. No- 
body had any interest in hastening a death so certain. 
M. Michelet, whose sympathies Ivith all feelings are so 
quick, that one would gladly see them always as justly 
directed, reads the case most truly. Joanna had a 
twofold malady. She was visited by a paroxysm of 
the complaint called home-sickness; the cruel nature 
of her imprisonment, and its length, could not but 
point her solitary thoughts, in darkness and in chains 
(for chained she was), to Domremy, And the season, 
which was the most heavenly period of the spring, 
added stings to this yearning. That was one of her 
maladies — nostalgia^ as medicine calls it ; the other 
was weariness and exhaustion from daily combats with 
malice. She saw that everybody hated her, and 
thirsted for her blood ; nay, many kind-hearted crea- 
tures that would have pitied her profoundly, as regard- 
ed all political charges, had their natural feeling»^ 

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i;varped by the belief that she had dealings with fiend- 
ish powers. She knew she was to die ; that was not 
the misery : the misery was, that this consummation 
could not be reached without so much intermediate 
strife, as if she were contending for some chance 
(where chance was none) of happiness, or were dream- 
ing for a moment of escaping the inevitable. Why, 
then, did she contend ? Knowing that she would reap 
nothing from answering her persecutors, why did she 
not retire by silence from the superfluous contest ? It 
wa» because her quick and eager loyalty to truth would 
not suffer her to see it darkened by frauds, which she 
could expose, but others, even of candid listeners, 
perhaps could not ; it was through that imperishable 
grandeur of soul, which taught her to submit meekly 
and without a struggle to her punishment, but taught 
her not to submit — no, not for a moment — to calum- 
ny as to facts, or to misconstruction as to motives. 
Besides, there were secretaries all around the court 
taking down her words. That was meant for no good 
to Aer. But the end does not always correspond to 
the meaning. And Joanna might say to herself — these 
words that will be used against me to-morrow and the 
next day, perhaps in some nobler generation may rise 
again for my justification. Yes, Joanna, they are rising 
even now in Paris, and for more than justification. 

Woman, sister — there are some things which you 
do not execute as well as your brother, man ; no, nor 
efW9t will. Pardon me, if I doubt whether you will 
ever produce a great poet from your choirs, or a Mo- 
zart, or a Phidias, or a Michael Angelo, or a great 
philosopher, or a great scholar. By which last is 
meant-— not one who depends simply on an infinite 

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memory, but also on an infinite and electrical power 
of combination ; bringing together from the four winds, 
like the angel of the resurrection, what else were dust 
from dead men's bones, into the unity of breathing 
life. If you can create yourselves into any of these 
great creators, why have you not ? 

Yet, sister woman, though I cannot consent to find 
a Mozart or a Michael Angelo in your sex, cheerfully, 
and with the love that bums in depths of admiration, 
I acknowledge that you can do one thing as well as 
the best of us men — a greater thing than even Milton 
is known to have done, or Michael Angelo — you can 
die grandly, and as goddesses would die, were god- 
desses mortal. If any distant worfds (which may be 
the case) arc so far ahead of us Tellurians in optica] 
resources, as to see distinctly through their telescopes 
all that we do on earth, what is the grandest sight to 
which we ever treat them ? St. Peter's at Rome, do 
you fancy, on Easter Sunday, or Luxor, or perhaps the 
Himalayas? Oh, no! my friend: suggest something 
better ; these are baubles to them ; they see in other 
worlds, in their own, far better toys of the same kind. 
These, take my word for it, are nothing. Do you give 
it up ? The finest thing, then, we have to show them, 
is a scaffold on the morning of execution. I assure 
you there is a strong muster in those far telescopic 
worlds, on any such morning, of those who happen to 
find themselves occupying the right hemisphere for a 
peep at us. How, then, if it be announced in some 
such telescopic world by those who make a livelihood 
of catching glimpses at our newspapers, whose lan- 
guage they have long since deciphered, that the poor 
victim in the morning's sacrifice is a woman ? How, 

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JOAN or ABC. Ill 

if it be published in that distant world, that the suf- 
ferer wears upon her head, in the eyes of many, the 
garlands of martyrdom ? How, if it should be some 
Marie Antoinette, the widowed queen, coming forward 
on the scaffold, and presenting to the morning air her 
head turned gray by sorrow, daughter of Caesars kneel- 
ing down humbly to kiss the guillotine, as one that 
worships death ? How, if it were the noble Charlotte 
Corday, that in the bloom of youth, that with the 
loveliest of persons, that with homage waiting upon 
her smiles wherever she turned her face to scatter 
them — homage that followed those smiles as surely as 
the carols of birds, after showers in spring, follow the 
re-appearing sun and the racing of sunbeams over the 
hills — yet thought all these things cheaper than the 
dust upon her sandals, in comparison of deliverance 
from hell for her dear suffering France! Ah! these 
were spectacles indeed for those sympathizing people 
in distant worlds ; and some, perhaps would suffer a 
sort of martyrdom themselves, because they could not 
testify their wrath, could not bear witness to the 
strength of love and to the fury of hatred that burned 
within them at such scenes; could not gather into 
golden urns some of that glorious dust which rested 
in the catacombs of earth. 

On the Wednesday after Trinity Sunday in 1431, 
being then about nineteen years of age, the Maid of 
Arc Tinderwent her martyrdom. She was conducted 
before mid-day, guarded by eight hundred spearmen, 
to a platform of prodigious height, constructed of 
wooden billets supported by occasional walls of lath 
and plaster, and traversed by hollow spaces in every 
direction for the creation of air-currents. The pile 

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• struck terror/ says M. Michelet, * by its height ;' and, 
as usual, the English purpose in this is viewed as one 
of pure malignity. But there are two ways of explain* 
ing all that. It is probable that the purpose was 
merciful. On the circumstances of the execution I 
shall not linger. Yet, to mark the almost fatal felicity 
of M. Michelet in finding out whatever may injure the 
English name, at a moment when every reader, will be 
interested in Joanna*s pergonal appearance, it is really 
edifying to notice the ingenuity by which he draws 
into light from a dark comer a very unjust account of 
it, and neglects, though lying upon the high road, a 
very pleasing one. Both are from English pens. 
Grafton, a chronicler but little read, being a stiff- 
necked John Bull, thought fit to say, that no wonder 
Joanna should be a virgin, since her 'foule face' was 
a satisfactory solu^on of that particular merit. HoU 
inshead, on the other hand, a chronicler somewhat 
later, every way more important, and at one time 
universally read, has given a very pleasing testimony 
to the interesting character of Joanna's person and 
engaging manners. Neither of these men lived till 
the following century, so that personally this evidence 
is none at all. Qrafton sullenly and carelessly be- 
lieved as he wished to believe ; Holinshead took pains 
to inquire, and reports \mdoubtedly the general im- 
pression of France. But I cite the case as illustrating 
M. Miehelet's candor.^ 

The circumstantial incidents of the execution, unless 
with more space than I can now command, I shoidd be 
imwilling to relate. I should fear to injure, by im- 
perfect report, a martyrdom which to mys^f appears so 
tinspeakably grand. Yet for a purpose, pointing- not 

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JOAJS 07 ABO. 113 

at Joanna, but at M. Michelet — viz., to convince him 
tibat an Englishman is capable of thinking more highly 
of La Pucelle than even her admiring countryman, I 
i^iall, in parting, allude to one or two traits in Joanna's 
demeanor on the scaffold, and to one or two in that of 
the bystanders, which authorize me in questioning an 
opinion of his upon this martyr's firmness. The reader 
ought to be reminded that Joanna D'Arc was subjected 
to an unusually unfair trial of opinion. Any of the 
elder Christian mactyrs had not much to fear of peV" 
sonal rancor. The martyr was chiefly regarded as the 
enemy of Csesar ; at times, also, where any knowledge 
of the Christian faith and morals existed, with the 
enmity that -arises spontaneously in the worldly against 
ttie spiritual. But the martyr, though disloyal, was 
not supposed to be, therefore, and-national ; and still 
less was individually hatefuL What was hated (if 
anything) belonged to his class, not to himself sepa- 
rately. Now, Joanna, if hated at all, was hated per- 
sonally, and in Rouen on national grounds. Hence 
t^re would be a certainty of calumny arising against 
Aer, such as would not affect martyrs in general. That 
being the case, it woidd follow of necessity that some< 
people would impute to her a willingness to recant. 
No innocence could escape that. Now, had she really 
testified this willingness on the scaffold, it would have 
argued nothing at all but the weakness of a genial 
nature shrinking from the instant approach of torment. 
And those will often pity that weakness most, who, in 
their own persons, would yield to it least. Meantime, 
there never was a calumny uttered that drew less sup- 
port &om the recorded circumstances. It resta upon 
no positive testimony, and it has a weight of contra- 

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dieting testimony to stem. And yet, strange to 
say, M. Michelet, who at times seems to admire the 
Maid of Arc as much as I do, is the one sole writer 
amongst her friends who lends some countenance to 
this odious slander. His words are, that, if she did 
not utter this word recant with her lips, she uttered it 
in her heart. « Whether she said the word is uncer- 
tain ; hut I affirm that she thought it.' 

Now, I affirm that she did not ; not in any sense of 
the word ' thought ' applicable to the case. Here is 
France calumniating La Pucelle : here is England de- 
fending her. M. Michelet can only mean that, on i 
priori principles, every woman must be liable to such 
a weakness : that Joanna was a woman ; ergo, that she 
was liable to such a. weakness. That is, he only sup- 
poses her to have uttered the word by an argument 
which presumes it impossible for anybody to have done 
otherwise. I, on the contrary, throw the onus of the 
argument not on presimiable tendencies of nature, but 
on the known facts of that morning's execution, as re- 
corded by multitudes. What else, I demand, than 
mere weight of metal, -absolute nobility of deportment, 
broke the vast line of battle then arrayed against her ? 
What else but her meek, saintly demeanor won from 
the enemies, that till now had believed her a witch, 
tears of rapturous admiration ? ' Ten thousand men,' 
says M. Michelet himself, ' ten thousand men wept ; ' 
and of these ten thousand the majority were political 
enemies knitted together by cords of superstition. 
What else was it but her constancy, united with her 
angelic gentleness, that drove the fanatic English sol- 
dier — who had sworn to throw a faggot on her scaf- 
fold, as his tribute of abhorrence, that did so, that ful-* 

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filled his vow — suddenly to turn away a penitent for 
life, saying everywhere that he had seen a dove rising 
upon wings to heaven from the ashes where she had 
stood ? What else drove the executioner to kneel at 
every shrine for pardon to his share in the tragedy ! 
And if all this were insufficient, then I cite the closing 
act of her life, as valid on her behalf, were all other 
testimonies against her. The executioner had been 
directed to apply his torch from below. He did so. 
The fiery smoke rose upwards in billowing volumes. A 
Dominican monk was then standing almost at her side. 
Wrapped up in his sublime office, he saw not the dan- 
ger, but still persisted in his prayers. Even then, when 
the last enemy was racing up the fiery stairs to seize 
her, even at that moment did this noblest of girls think 
only for him, the one friend that would not forsake her, 
and not for herself; bidding him with her last breath 
to care for his own preservation, but to leave her to God. 
That girl, whose latest breath ascended in this sublime 
expression of self-oblivion, did not utter the word re* 
cant either with her lips or in her heart. No ; she did 
not, though one should rise from the dead to swear it. 

Bishop of Beauvais ! thy victim died in fire upon a 
scaffold — thou upon a down bed. But for the de- 
parting minutes of life, both are oftentimes alike. At 
the farewell crisis, when the gates of death are open- 
ing, and flesh is resting from its struggles, oftentimes 
the tortured and torturer have the same triice from 
carnal torment t both sink together into sleep; to- 
gether both, sometimes, kindle into dreams^. When 
the mortal mists were gathering fsust upon you two, 
bishop and shepherd girl — when the pavilions of life 

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were closing up their shadowy curtains^ about you — 
let us try, through the gigantic glooms, to decipher the 
flying features of your separate visions. 

The shepherd girl that had delivered France — she, 
from her dungeon, she, from her baiting at the stake, 
she, from her duel with fire, as she entered her last 
dream — saw Domremy, saw the fountain of Domremy, 
saw the pomp of forests in which her childhood had 
wandered. That Easter festival, which man had de- 
nied to her languishing heart — that resurrection of 
spring-time, which the darkness of dungeons had in- 
tercepted from her, hungering after the glorious liberty 
of forests — were by God given back into her hands,. 
as jewels that had been stolen from her by robbers. 
With those, perhaps (for the minuftes of dreams can 
stretch into ages), was given back to her by God the 
bliss of childhood. By special privilege, for hsr might 
be created, in this fareweill dream, a second childhood, 
innocent as the first ; but not, like that^ sad with the 
gloom of a fearful mission in the rear. The mission 
had now been fulfilled. The storm was weathered, tho^ 
skirts even of that mighty storm were drawing oflT. 
The blood that she was to reckon for 'had been ex- 
acted ; the tears that she was to shed in secret had 
been paid to the last. The hatred to herself in all 
eyes had been faced steadily, had been suffered, had 
been survived. And in her last fight upon the scaffold 
she had triumphed gloriously; victoriously she had 
tflsted the stings of death. For all, except this com- 
fort from her farewell dream; she had died — died, 
amidst the tears of ten thousand, enemies — died, 
amidst the drums and trumpets of armies — died, 
amidst peals redoubling upon peals, volleys upon vol- 
leys, from the saluting clarions of martyrs. 

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J-aAN OF ABC. 117 

Bishop of Beauvais! because ihe guilt-burdened 
tman is in dreams haunted and waylaid by the most 
ffrightful of his crimes, and because upon that fluctuate 
»ing mirror — rising (like the mocking mirrors of mirage 
in Arabian deserts) from the fens of death — most of 
•all are reflected the sweet countenances which the man 
has laid in ruins ; therefore I know, bishop, that you 
also, entering your final dream, saw Domremy. That 
fountain, of which the witnesses spoke so much, showed 
itself to your eyes in pure morning dews : but neither 
dews, nor the holy dawn, could' cleanse away the bright 
spots of innocent hlood upon its surface. By the foun- 
tain, bishop, you saw a woman seated, that hid her 
face. But as you draw near, the womati raises her 
wasted features. Would Domreniy know them again 
for the features of her child ? Ah, but you know them, 
bishop, well ! Oh, mercy ! what a groan was that which 
the servants, waiting outside the bishop's dream at his 
bedside, heard from his laboring heart, as at this ^mo- 
ment he turned away from the fountain and the woman, 
seeking rest in the forests afar ofl*. Yet not «o to 
esci^e the woman, whom once again he must behold be- 
fore he dies. In the forests to which he prays for pity, 
will he find a respite ? What a tumult, what a gath- 
eidng of feet is there ! In^ glades, where only wild 
deer should run, armies and nations are assembling ; 
towering in the fluctuating crowd are phantoms that 
belong to departed hours. There is the great English 
Prince, Regent of France. There is my Lord of Win- 
chester, the princely cardinal, that died and made no 
sign. There is the Bishop of Beauvais, clinging to the 
shelter of thickets. What building is that which hands 
80 rapid are raising ? Is it a martyr's scaflbld ? Will 

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118 JOJlN of ABO. 

they burn the child of Domremy a second time ? No : 
it is a tribunal that rises to the clouds ; and two nations 
stand around it, waiting for a trial. Shall my Lord 
of Beauvais sit again upon the judgment-seat, and 
again number the hours for the innocent ? Ah ! no : 
he is the prisoner at the bar. Already all is waiting : 
the mighty audience is gathered, the Court is hurrying 
to their seats, the witnesses are arrayed, the trumpets 
are sounding, the judge is taking his place. Oh ! but 
this is sudden. My lord, have you no counsel ? ' Coun- 
sel I have none : in heaven above, or on earth be- 
neath, counsellor there is none now that would take a 
brief from me : all are silent.* Is it, indeed, come to 
this ? Alas the time is short, the tumult is wondrous, 
the crowd stretches away into infinity, but yet I will 
search in it for somebody to take your brief : I know 
of somebody that will be your counsel. Who is this 
that Cometh froin Domremy ? Who is she in bloody 
coronation robes from Rheims? Who is she that 
Cometh with blackened flesh from walking the fur- 
naces of Rouen ? This is she, the shepherd girl, coun- 
sellor that had none for herself, whom I choose, bishop, 
for yours. She it is, I engage, that shall take my 
lord's brief. She it is, bishop, that would plead for 
you : yes, bishop, she — when heaven and earth are 

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NoTi 1. Page 81. 
■ Arc : ' — Modem France, that should know a great deal beU 
ter than myself, insists that the name is not D'Aro — i. e., of 
Arc — but Dare. Now it happens sometimes, that if a person, 
whose position guarantees his access to the best information, will 
content himself with gloomy dogmatism, striking the table with 
his fist, and saying in a terrific voice, < It U so; and there's an 
end of it,* one bows deferentially, and submits. But if, unhap- 
pily for himself, won by this docility, he relents too amiably into 
reasons and arguments, probably one raises an insurrection 
against him that may never be crushed; for in the fields of logic 
one can skirmish, perhaps, as well as he. Had he confined him^- 
self to dogmatism, he would have entrenched his position in 
darkness, and haye hidden his own vulnerable points. But, 
coming down to base reasons, he lets in light, and one sees where 
to plant the blows. Now, the worshipful reason of modern France 
for disturbing the old received spelling, is — that Jean Hordal, 
a descendant of La Pucelle's brother, spelled the name DarCt in 
1612. But what of that ? It is notorious that what small mat- 
ter of spelling Providence had thought fit to disburse amongst 
man in the seventeenth century, was all monopolized by printers; 
now, M. Hordal was not a printer. 

Note 2. Page 82. 
* Those that share thy blood .* * — a collateral relative of Joanna's 
was subsequently ennobled by the title of Du Lys. 

Note 8. Page 85. 

' 'Only now forthcoming:* — In 1847 began the publication 

(from official records) of Joanna's trial. It was interrupted, I 

fear, by the convulsions of 1848; and whether even yet finished, 

I do not know. 


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120 NOTES. 

Note 4. Page 87. 
'Jean:* — M. Miohelet asserts, that there was a mystioal 
meaning at that era in calling a child Jean ; it implied a secret 
commendation of a child, if not a dedication, to St. John the 
evangelist, the beloved disciple, the apostle of love and mysterious 
Tisions. But, really, as the name was so exceedingly common, 
few people will detect a mystery in calling a boy by the name of 
Jack, thongh it cU)es seem niysterions to call a girl Jack. It may 
be less so in France, where a beantiful practice has always pre- 
Tuled of 'giving to a boy his mother's name — preceded and 
strengthened by a male name, as Charles Anne, Victor Ftc- 
ioire. In oases where a mother "s memory has been unusually 
dear to a son, this vocal memento of her, locked into the circle 
of his own name, gives to it the tenderness of a testfunentary 
relique, or a ftmeral ring. I presume, therefore, that La PucelU 
must have borne the baptismal names of Jeanne Jean; the latter 
with no reference, perhaps, to so sublime a person as St. John* 
but simply to some relative. 

Note 6. Page 88. 
And reminding one of that inscription, so justly admired l^ 
Paul Riohter, which a Russian Czarina placed on a guide-post 
' Moscow — Thu U the road that leads to Constaixtinople, 

Note 6. Page 112. 

Amongst ihe many ebullitions of M. Michelet's fury against us 
poor English, are four which will be likely to amuse the reader ; 
and they are the more conspicuous in collision with the justice 
which he sometimes does us, and the very indignant admiration 
which, under some aspects, he grants to us. 

1. Our English literature he admires with some gnashing of 
teeth. He pronounces it ' fine and sombre,' but, I lament to add, 
'sceptical. Judaic, Satanic — in a word, Anti-Christian.' That 
Lord Byron should figure as a member of this diabolical corpora- 
tion, will not surprise men. It will surprise them to hear that 
Milton is one of its Satanic leaders. Many are the generous and 
eloquent Frenchmen, besides Chateaubriand, Who have, in the 
course of the last thirty years, nobly suspended their own bum- 

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NOTES. 121 

jng nationality, in order to render a more rapturous homage at 
the feet of Milton; and some of them haye raised Milton almost 
to a level with angelic natures. Not one of them has tiiought of 
looking for him below the earth. As to Shakspeare, M. Michelet 
detects in him a most extraordinary mare's nest. It is this : he 
does < not recollect to have seen the name of God ' in any part of 
his works. On reading such words, it is natural to rub one's 
eyes, and suspect that all one has ever seen in this world may 
have been a pure ocular delusion. In particular, I begin myself 
to suspect, that the word < la gloire ' never occurs in any Pari- 
man journal. * The great English nation,' says M. Michelet, * has 
one inmiense profound vice,' to wit, * pride.' Why, really that 
may be true; but we have a neighbor not absolutely cleir of an 
* immense profound vice,' as like ours in color and shape as cherry 
to cherry. In short, M. Michelet thinks us, by fits and starts, 
admirable, only that we are detestable; and he would adore some 
of our authors, were it not that so intensely he could have wished 
to kick them. 

2. M. Michelet thinks to lodge an arrow in our sides by a very 
odd remark upon l%omas a Eempis: which is, that a man of any 
conceivable European blood — a Finlander, suppose, or a Zan- 
tiote — might have written Tom; only not an Englishman. 
Whether an Englishman could have forged Tom, must remain a 
matter of doubt, unless the thing had been tried long ago. That 
problem was intercepted for ever by Tom's perverseness in choos- 
ing to manufacture himself Yet, since nobody is better aware 
than M. Michelet that this very point of Kempis having manu- 
factured Eempis is fdriously and hopelessly litigated, three Or 
four nations claiming to have forged his work for him, the 
shocking old doubt will raise its snaky head once more — whether 
this forger, who rests in so much darkness, might not, after all, 
be of English blood. Tom, it may be feared, is known to modern 
English literature chiefly by an irreverent mention of his name 
in a line of Peter Pindar's (Dr. Wolcot) fifty years back, where 
lie is described as 

* Kempis Tom, 
Who clearly shows the way to Kingdom Come.' 
Few in these days can have read him, unless in the Methodist 
Teroon of John Wesley. Amongst those few, however, happens 

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122 NOTES. 

to be myself; which arose from the accident of ^Ting, when a 
boy of eleven, received a copy of the * De Imitatione Christi,' as 
a bequest from a relation, who died very young; from which 
cause, and from the external prettinesa of the book, being a 
Glasgow reprint, by the celebrated Foulis, and gayly bound, I 
was induced to look into it; and finally read it many times over, 
partly out of some sympathy which, even in those days, I had 
with its simplicity and devotional fervor; but much more from 
the savage delight I found in laughing at Tom*s Latinity. That, 
I freely grant to M. Michelet, is inimitable. Yet, after all, it is 
not certain whether the original was Latin. But, however ikat 
may have been, if it is possible that M. Michelet* can be accu- 
rate in saying that there are no less than sixty French versions 
(not editions, observe, but separate versions) existing of the * De 
Imitatione,' how prodigious must have been the adaptation of the 
book to the religious heart of the fifte^th century ! Excepting 
the Bible, but excepting that only, in Protestant lands, no book 
known to man has had the same distinction. It is the most 
marvellous bibliographical fact on record. 

8. Our English girls, it seems, are as &ulty in one way as we 
English males in another. None of us men could have written 
the Opera Omnia of Mr. k Kempis; neith^ oouM any of our 
girls have assumed male attire like La Pucelle, But why? 
Because, says Michelet, English girls and (German think so much 

** If M. Michelet can be accurate : * — However, on consider- 
ation, this statement does not depend on Michelet. The bibli- , 
ographer Barbier has absolutely specified sixty in a separate 
dissertation, soixante traductions^ amongst those even that have 
not escaped the search. The Italian translations are said to be 
thirty. As to mere editions, not counting the early MSS. for 
half a century before printing was introduced, those in Latin 
amount to two thousand, and those in French to one thousand. 
Meantinne, it is very clear to me that this astonishing popularity^ 
so entirely unparalleled in literature, could not have existed ex- 
cept in Boman Catholic times, nor subsequently have lingered in 
any Protestant land. It was the denial of Scripture fountains to 
thirsty lands which made this slender rill of Scripture ti*uth so 
passionately welcome. 

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KOTSS. 123 

tittm indeooram. W^, that is a good fault, generally speaking. 
But M. Mickelet ought to have remembered a &ct in the martyr* 
ologies which justifies both parties — the French heroine for 
doing, and the general choir of English girls for not doing. A 
female saint, specially renowned in France, had, for a reason as 
weighty as Joanna's — Tii., expressly to shield her modesty 
amongst men — worn a male miliiary harness. That reason and 
that example authorized La Pucelle ; but our English girls, as 
a body, have seldom any such reastm, and certainly no such 
saintly example, to plead. This excuses them. Tet, still, if it is 
indispensable to the national diaracter that our young women 
riiould now and then trespass over the frontier of decorum, it then 
becomes a patriotic duty in me to assure M. Michelet that we have 
such ardent females amcmgst us, and in a long series ; some 
detected in naval hospitals, when too sick to remember their 
di^uise; some on fields of battle; multitudes never detected at 
all; some only suspected; and others discharged without noise 
by war ofGices and other absurd people. In our navy, both royal 
and commercial, and generally from deep remembrances of 
■lighted love, women have sometimes served in disguise for many 
years, taking contentedly their daily allowance of burgoo, biscuity 
or cannon-balls — anything, in short, digestible or indigestible, 
that it might please Providence to send. One thing, at least, is 
to their credit : never any of these poor masks, with their deep 
silent remembrances, have been detected through murmuring, or 
what is nautically understood by ' skulking.' So, for once, M. 
Michelet has an erraium to enter upon the fly-leaf of his book in 
presentation copies. 

4. But the last of these ebullitions is the most lively. We 
English, at Orleans, and after Orleans (which is not quite so ex- 
traordinary, if all were told), fled before the Maid of Arc. Tes, 
says M. Michelet, you did : deny it, if you can. Deny it, mon 
cher? I don't mean to deny it Running away, in many cases, 
is a thing so excellent, that no philosopher would, at times, con- 
descend to adopt any other step. All of us nations in Europe, 
without one exception, have shown our philosophy in that way at 
times. Even people, * qui ne se rendent pas,* have deigned both 
to run and to shout, ' Sauve qui peut ! * at odd times of sunset ; 
though, fbr my part, I have no pleasure in recalling unpleasant 

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124 KOTES. 

remembrances to brave men ; and yet, really, bdng so plulo- 
Bophio, they ought not to be unpleasant. But the amusing Ma- 
ture in M. Michelet's reproach is the way in which he improvu 
and varies against us the charge of running, as if he were singing 
a catch. Listen to him. They < thowed their backs,* did these 
English. (Hip, hip, hurrah ! three times three !) * Behind 
good walls, they let themselves be taken* (Hip, hip ! nine times 
nine !) They * ran as fast as their legs could carry thenu* 
(Hurrah ! twenty-seven times twenty-seven !) They * tan before 
a girl ; ' they did. ' (Hurrah ! eighty-one times eighty-one !) 
This reminds one of criminal indictments on the old model in 
English courts, where (for fear the prisoner should escape) the 
crown lawyer varied the charge perhaps through forty counts. 
The law laid its guns so as to rake the accused at every possible 
angle. Whilst the indictment was reading, he seemed a monster 
of crime in his own eyes; and yet, after all, the poor fellow had 
but committed one offence, and not always that. N. B. — > Not 
having the French original at hand, I make my quotations from 
a friend's copy of Mr. Walter Kelly's translation, which seemi 
to me faithful, spirited, and idiomatically English — liable, in 
flkot* only to the single reproach of oocasional provinoialismt. 

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Some twenty or more years before I matriculated at 
Oxford, Mr. Palmer, at that time M. P. for Bath, had 
accomplished two things, very hard to do on our little 
planet, the Earth, however cheap they may be held by 
eccentric people in comets — he had invented mail- 
coaches, and he had married the daughter ^ of a duke. 
He w$ts, therefore, just twice as great a man as Galileo, 
who did certainly invent (or which is the same thing,^ . 
discover) the satellites of Jupiter, those very next 
things extant to mail-coaches in the two capital pre- 
tensions of speed and keeping time, but, on the other 
hand, who did not marry the daughter of a duke. 

These mail-coaches, as organzied by Mr. Palmer, 
are entitled to a circumstantial notice from myself, 
having had so large a share in developing the anarchies 
of my subsequent dreams ; an agency which they 
accomplished, 1st, through velocity, at that time un- 
precedented — for they first revealed the glory of mo- 
tion ; 2dly, through grand effects for the eye between 
lamp-light and the darkness upon solitary roads ; 
3dly, through animal beauty and power so often dis- 
played in the class of horses selected for this mail 
service ; 4thly, through the conscious presence of a 
central intellect, that, in the midst of vast distances ^ 
— of storms, of darkness, of danger — overruled all 


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obstacles into one steady co-operation to a national 
result. For my own feeling, this post-office service 
spoke as by some mighty orchestra, where a thousand 
instruments, all disregarding each other, and so far in 
danger of discord, yet all obedient as slaves to the 
supreme baton of some great leader, terminate in a 
perfection of harmony like that of heart, brain, and 
lungs, in a healthy animal organization. But, finally, 
that particular element in this whole combination 
which most impressed myself, and through which it is 
that to this hour Mr. Palmer's mail-coach system ty- 
rannizes over my dreams by terror and terrific beauty, 
lay in the awful political mission which at that time it 
fulfilled. The mail-coach it was that distributed over 
the face of the land, like the opening of apocalyptic 
vials, the heart-shaking news of Trafalgar, of Sala- 
manca, of Vittoria, of Waterloo. These were the 
harvests that, in the grandeur of their reaping, re- 
deemed the tears and blood in which they had been 
sown. Neither was the meanest peasant so much 
below the grandeur and the sorrow of the times as to 
confound battles such as these, which were gradually 
moulding the destinies of Christendom, with the vul- 
gar conflicts of ordinary warfare, so often no more 
than gladiatorial trials of national prowess. The 
victories of England in this stupendous contest rose 
of themselves as natural Te Deums to heaven ; and it 
was felt by the thoughtful that such victories, at such 
a crisis of general prostration, were not more benefi- 
cial to ourselves than finally to France, our enemy, 
and to the nations of all western or central Europe, 
through whose pusillanimity it was that the French 
domination had prospered. 

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The mail-coach, as the national organ for publishing 
these mighty events thus diffusively influential, became 
itself a spiritualized and glorified object to an impas- 
sioned heart ; and naturally, in the Oxford of that 
day, all hearts were impassioned, as being all (or 
nearly all) in early manhood. In most universities 
.there is one single college ; in Oxford there were Rye- 
and-twenty, all of which were peopled by young men, 
the elite of their own generation ; not boys, but men ; 
none under eighteen. In some of these many col- 
leges, the custom permitted the student to keep what 
are called ' short terms ; ' that is, the four terms of 
Michaelmas, Lent, Easter, and Act, were kept by a 
residence, in the aggregate of ninety-one days, or 
thirteen weeks. Under this interrupted residence, it 
was possible that a student might have a reason for 
going down to his home four times in the year. This 
made eight journeys to and fro. But, as the homes 
lay dispersed through all the shires of the bland, and 
most of us disdained all coaches except his majesty's 
mail, no city out of London could pretend to so ex- 
tensive a connection with Mr. Palmer's establbhment 
as Oxford. Three mails, at the least, I remember as 
passing every day through Oxford, and benefiting by 
my personal patronage — viz., the Worcester, the Glou- 
cester, and the Holyhead mail. Naturally, therefore, 
it became a point of some interest with us, whose jour- 
neys revolved every six weeks on an average, to look 
a little into the executive details of the system. With 
some of these Mr. Palmer had no concern ; they rested 
upon bye-laws enacted by posting-houses for their own 
benefit, and upon other bye-laws, equally stern, enacted 
by the inside passengers for the illustration of their own 

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haughty exclusiveness. These last were of a nature to 
rouse our scorn, from which the transition was not 
very long to systematic mutiny. Up to this time, say 
1804, or 1805 (the year of Trafalgar), it had heen the 
fixed assumption of the four inside people (as an old 
tradition of all public carriages derived from the reign . 
of Charles II.), that they, the illustrious quaternion^ 
constituted a porcelain variety of the human race, 
whose dignity would have been compromised by ex- 
changing one word of civility with the three miserable 
delf-ware outsides. Even to have kicked an outsider, 
might have been held to attaint the foot concerned in 
that operation ; so that, perhaps, it would have re- 
quired an act of parliament to restore its purity of 
blood. What words, then, could express the horror, 
and the sense of treason, in that, case, which had hap- 
pened, where all three outsides (the trinity of Pariahs) 
made a vain attempt to sit down at the same breakfast- 
table or dinner-table with the consecrated four? I 
myself witnessed such an attempt ; and on that occa- 
sion a benevolent old gentleman endeavored to soothe 
his three holy associates, by suggesting that, if the 
outsides were indicted for this criminal attempt at the 
next assizes, the court would regard it as a case of 
lunacy, or delirium tremens^ rather than of treason. 
England owes much of her grandeur to the depth of 
the aristocratic element in her social composition, when 
pulling against her strong democracy. I am not the 
man to laugh at it. But sometimes, undoubtedly, it 
expressed itself in comic shapes. The course taken 
with the infatuated outsiders, in the particular attempt 
which I have noticed, was, that the waiter, beckoning 
them away from the privileged salle-d'tnanger, sang 

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out, * This way, my good men,' and then enticed these 
good men away to the kitchen. But that plan had 
not always answered. Sometimes, though rarely, 
cases occurred where the intruders, heing stronger 
than usual, or more vicious than usual, resolutely 
refused to hudge, and so far carried their point,. as to 
have a separate tahle arranged for themselves in a 
corner of the general room. Yet, if an Indian screen 
could be found ample enough to plant tiiem out from 
the very eyes of the high table, or dais, it then be- 
came possible to assume as a fiction of law — that the 
three delf fellows, after all, were not present. They 
covdd be ignored by the porcelain men, under the 
maxim, that objects not appearing, and not existing, 
are governed by the same logical construction.** 

Such being, at that time, the usages of mail-coaches, 
what was to be done by us of young Oxford ? We, 
the most aristocratic of people, who were addicted to 
the practice of looking down superciliously even upon 
the insides themselves as often very questionable 
characters — were we, by voluntarily going outside, to 
court indignities ? If our dress and bearing sheltered 
us, generally, from the suspicion of being ' raff ' (the 
name at that period for * snobs ' *), we really were such 
constructively, by the place we assumed. If we did 
not submit to the deep shadow of eclipse, we entered 
at least the skirts of its penumbra. And the analogy 
of theatres was valid against us, where no man can 
complain of the annoyances incident to the pit or gal- 
lery, having his instant remedy in paying the higher 
price of the boxes. But the soundness of this analogy 
we disputed. In the case of the theatre, it cannot be 
pretended that the inferior situations have any separate 

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180 THs siraLiss uAuu-coAxm. 

attractions, unless the pit may be supposed to have an 
advantage for the purposes of the critic or the dramatic 
reporter. But the critic or reporter is a rarity. For 
most people, the sole benefit is in the price. Now, on 
the contrary, the outside of the mail had its own in- 
communicable advantages. These we could not fore- 
go. The higher price we would willingly have paid, 
but not the price connected with the condition of riding 
inside ; which condition we pronounced insufferable. 
The air, the freedom of prospect, the proximity to the 
horses, the elevation of seat — these were what we 
required ; but, above all, the certain anticipation of 
purchasing occasional opportunities of driving. 

Such was the difficulty which pressed us ; and undcar 
the coercion of this difficulty, we instituted a searching 
inquiry into the true quality and valuation of the dif- 
ferent apartments about the mail. We conducted 
this inquiry on metaphysical principles ; and it was 
ascertained satisfactorily, that the roof of the coach, 
which by some weak men had been called the attics, 
and by some the garrets, was in reality the drawing- 
room ; in which drawing-room the box was the chief 
ottoman or sofa ; whilst it appeared that the inside^ 
which had been traditionally regarded as the only roopi 
tenantable by gentlemen, was, in fact, the coal-oellar 
in disguise. 

Great wits jump. The very same idea had not long 
before struck the celestial intellect of China. Amongst 
the presents carried out by our first embassy to that 
country was a state-coach. It had been specially 
selected as a personal gift by George III. ; but the ex- 
act mode of using it was an immense mystery to Pekixu 
The ambassador, indeed (Jjcyrd l^Cacartney), h^d made 

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Tto GXOST OP XOTIOir. 131 

some imperfect explanations upon this point ; but, as 
his excellency communicated these in a diplomatic 
whisper, at the very moment of his departure, the 
celestial intellect was very feebly illuminated, and it 
became necessary to call a cabinet council on the grand 
state question, ' Where was the emperor to sit ? ' The 
hammer-cloth happened to be unusually gorgeous ; 
and partly on that consideration, but partly also be- 
cause the box offered the most elevated seat, was 
nearest to the moon, and undeniably went foremost, it 
was resolved by acclamation that the box was the im- 
perial throne, and for the scoundrel who drove, he 
might sit where he could find a perch. The horses, 
therefore, being harnessed, solemnly his imperial 
majesty ascended his new English throne under a 
flourish of trumpets, having the first lord of the treas- 
ury on his right hand, and the chief jester on his left. 
Pekin gloried in the spectacle ; and in the whole 
flowery people, constructively present by representa- 
tion, there was but one discontented person, and that 
was the coachman. This mutinous individual auda- 
ciously shouted, ' Where am / to sit ? ' But the privy 
council, incensed by his disloyalty, unanimously 
opened the door, and kicked him into the inside. He 
had all the inside places to himself ; but such is the 
rapacity of ambition, that he was still dissatisfied. < I 
say,' he cried out in an extempore petition, addressed 
to the emperor through the window — * I say, how 
am I to catch hold of the reins ? ' — ' Anyhow,' was the 
imperial answer ; * don't trouble me, man, in my glory. 
How catch the rems ? Why, through the windows, 
through the keyholes — anyhow.' Finally this con- 
tumacious coachman lengthened the check-strings into 

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a sort of jury-reins, communicating witli the horses j 
with these he drove as steadily as Pekin had any right 
to expect. The emperor returned after the briefest of 
circuits ; he descended in great pomp from his throne, 
with the severest resolution never to remount it. A 
public thanksgiving was ordered for his majesty's 
happy escape from the disease of broken neck ; and 
the state-coach was dedicated thenceforward as a 
votive offering to the god Fo, Fo — whom the learned 
more accurately called Fi, Fi. 

A revolution of this same Chinese character did 
young Oxford of that era effect in the constitution of 
mail-coach society. It was a perfect French revolu- 
tion ; and we had good reason to say, fa ira. In fact, 
it soon became too popular. The ' public,' a well- 
known character, particularly disagreeable, though 
slightly respectable, and notorious for affecting the 
chief seats in synagogues — had at first loudly op- 
posed this revolution ; but when the opposition showed 
itself to be ineffectual, our disagreeable friend went 
into it with headlong zeal. ' At first it was a sort of 
race between us ; and, as the public is usually from 
thirty to fifty years old, naturally we of young Oxford, 
that averaged about twenty, had the advantage. Then 
the public took to bribing, giving fees to horse-keep- 
ers, 6zc,, who hired out their persons as warming-pans 
on the box-seat. That, you know, was shocking to 
all moral sensibilities. Come to bribery, said we, and 
there is an end to all morality, Aristotle's, Zeno's, 
Cicero's, or anybody's. And, besides, of what use 
was it } For we bribed also. And as our bribes to 
those of the public were as five shillings to sixpence, 
here again young Oxford had the advantage. But the 

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contest was ruinous to the principles of the stables 
connected with the mails. This whole corporation 
was constantly bribed, rebribed, and often sur-rebribed ; 
a mail-coach yard was like the hustings in a contested 
election ; and a horse-keeper, hostler, or helper, was 
held by the philosophical at that time to be the most 
corrupt character in the nation. 

There was an impression upon the public mind, 
natural enough from the continually augmenting ve- 
locity of the mail, but quite erroneous, that an outside 
seat on this class, of carriages was a post of danger. 
On the contrary, I maintained that, if a man had be- 
come nervous from somb gipsy prediction in his child- 
hood, allocating to a particular moon now approaching 
some unknown danger, and he should inquire earnest- 
ly, * Whither can I fly for shelter ? Is a prison the 
safest retreat? or a lunatic hospital? or the British 
Museum ? ' I should have replied, * Oh, no ; I'll tell 
you what to do. Take lodgings for the next forty 
days on the box of his majesty's mail. Nobody can 
touch you there. If it is by bills at ninety days after 
date that you are made unhappy — if noters and pro- 
testers are the sort of wretches whose astrological 
shadows darken the house of life — then note you what 
I vehemently protest — viz., that no matter though the 
sheriff and under-sheriff in every county should be run- 
ning after you with his posse, touch a hair of your 
head he cannot whilst you keep house, and have your 
legal domicile on the box of the mail. It is felony to 
stop the mail ; even the sheriff cannot do that. And 
an extra touch of the whip to the leaders (no great 
matter if it grazes the sheriff) at any time guarantees 
your safety.' In fiact, a bedroom in a quiet house 

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seems a safe enough retreat, yet it is liable to its own 
notorious nuisances — to robbers by night, to rats, to 
fire. But the mail laughs at these terrors. To robbers, 
the answer is packed up and ready for delivery in the 
barrel of the guard's blunderbuss. Rats again ! — there 
are none about mail-coaches, any more than snakes in 
Von Troll's Iceland ; ^ except, indeed, now and then a 
parliamentary rat, who always hides his shame in what 
I have shown to be the ' coal-cellar.' And as to fire, 
I never knew but one in a mail-coach, which was in 
the Exeter mail, and caused by an obstinate sailor 
bound to Devonport. Jack, making light of the law 
and the lawgiver that had set their faces against his 
offence, insisted on taking up a forbidden seat ^ in the 
rear of the roof, from which he could exchange his 
own yams with those of the guard. No greater of- 
fence was then known to mail-coaches ; it was treason, 
it was lasa majestas, it was by tendency arson ; and 
the ashes of Jack's pipe, falling amongst the straw of 
the hinder boot containing the mail-bags, raised a 
flame which (aided by the wind of our motion) threat- 
ened a revolution in the republic of letters. Yet even 
this left the sanctity of the box unviolated. In dig- 
nified repose, the coachman and myself sat on, resting 
with benign composure upon our knowledge that the 
fire would have to bum its way through four inside 
passengers \)efore it could reach ourselves. I remark- 
ed to the coachman, with a quotation from Virgil^s 
• ^neid ' really too hackneyed — 

< Jam proxlmus ardet 

But, recollecting that the Virgilian part of the coaoho 
man's edu<^tion might have been neglected, I inter* 

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jMreted so &r as to say, that perhaps at that moment 
the flames were catching hold of our worthy brother 
and inside passenger, Ucalegon. The coachman made 
no answer, which is my own way when a stranger 
addresses me either in Syriac or in Coptic, but by his 
faint sceptical smile he seemed to insinuate that he 
knew better ; for that Ucalegon, as it happened, was 
not in the way-bill, and therefore could not have been 

No dignity is perfect which does not at some point 
ally itself with the mysterious. The connection of 
the mail with the state and the executive government 
— a connection obvious, but yet not strictly defined — 
gave to the whole mail establishment an official gran- 
deur which did us service on the roads, and invested 
us with seasonable terrors. Not the less impressive 
were those terrors,^ because their legal limits were 
imperfectly ascertained. Look at those turnpike gates ; 
with what deferential hurry, with what an obedient 
start, they fly open at our approach ! Look at that 
long line of carts and carters ahead, audaciously 
usurping the very crest of the road. Ah! traitors, 
they do not hear us as yet ; but, as soon as the dread- 
ful blast of our horn reaches them with proclamation 
df our approach, see with what frenzy of trepidation 
they fly to their horses* heads, and deprecate our 
wrath by the precipitation of their crane-neck quar- 
terings. Treason they feel to be their crime; each 
individual carter feels himself under the ban of con- 
fiscation and attainder ; his blood is attainted through 
six generations ; and nothing is wanting but the heads- 
man and his axe, the block and the saw-dust, to close 
up the vista of his horrors. What ! shall it be within 

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benefit of clergy to delay tlie king's message on the 
high road ? — to interrupt the great respirations, ebb 
and flood, systole and diastole, of the national inter- 
course ? — to endanger the safety of tidings, running 
day and night between all nations and languages ? 
Or can it be fancied, amongst the weakest of men, 
that the bodies of the criminals will be given up to 
their widows for Christian burial ? Now the doubts 
which were raised as to our powers did more to wrap 
them in terror, by wrapping them in uncertainty, than 
could have been eflected by the sharpest definitions of 
the law from the Quarter Sessions. We, on our parts 
(we, the collective mail, I mean), did our utmost to 
exalt the idea of our privileges by the insolence with 
which we wielded them. Whether this insolence 
rested upon law that gave it a sanction, or upon con- 
scious power that haughtily dispensed with that sanc- 
tion, -equally it spoke from a potential station ; and 
the agent, in each particular insolence of the moment, 
was viewed reverentially, as one having authority. 

Sometimes after breakfast his majesty's mail would 
become frisky; and in its difficidt wheelings amongst 
the intricacies of early markets, it would upset an 
apple-cart, a cart loaded with eggs, 6zc.. Huge was 
the affliction and dismay, awful was the smash. I, as 
far as possib^, endeavored in such a case to represent 
the conscience and moral sensibilities of the mail; 
and, when wildernesses of eggs were lying poached 
under our horses' hoofs, then would I stretch forth 
my hands in sorrow saying (in words too celebrated at 
that time, from the false echoes® of Marengo), * Ah! 
wherefore have we not time to weep over you?' which 
was evidently impossible, since, in fact, we had not 

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time to latigli over them. Tied to post-office allow- 
ance, in some cases of fifty minutes for eleven miles, 
could tlie royal mail pretend to undertake the offices 
of sympathy and condolence ? Could it be expected 
to provide tears for the accidents of the road? If 
even it seemed to trample on humanity, it did so, I 
felt, in discharge of its own more peremptory duties. 

Upholding the morality of the mail, d fortiori I 
upheld its rights ; as a matter of duty, 1 stretched to 
the uttermost its privilege of imperial precedency, and 
astonished weak minds by the feudal powers which I 
hinted to be lurking constructively in the charters of 
this proud establishment. Once I remember being on 
the box of the Holyhead mail, between Shrewsbury 
and Oswestry, when a tawdry thing from Birmingham, 
some * Tallyho ' or ' Highflyer,' all flaunting with 
green and gold, came up alongside of us. What a 
contrast to our royal simplicity of form and color in 
this plebeian wretch ! The single ornament on our 
dark ground of chocolate color was the mighty 
shield of the imperial arms, but emblazoned in pro- 
portions as modest as a signet-ring bears to a seal of 
office. Even this was displayed only on a single 
panel, whispering, rather than proclaiming, our rela- 
tions to the mighty state ; whilst the beast from Bir- 
mingham, our green-and-gold friend from false, fleet- 
ing, perjured Brummagem, had as much writing and 
painting on its sprawling flanks as would have puzzled 
a decipherer from the tombs of Luxor. For some 
time this Birmingham machine ran along by our side 
— a piece of familiarity that already of itself seemed 
to me sufficiently Jacobinical. But all at once a move- 
ment of the horses announced a desperate intention of 

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lefiMring us behind. * Do you see that 7 * I said to the 
coachman. — ' I see,' was his short answer. He was 
wide awake, yet he waited longer than seemed pru- 
dent ; for the horses of our audacious opponent had a 
disagreeable air of freshness and power. But his 
motive was loyal ; his wish was, that the Birmingham 
conceit should be full-blown before he froze it. When 
that seemed right, he unloosed, or, to speak by a 
stronger word, he sprang, his known resources : Jie 
slipped our royal horses like cheetahs, or himting- 
leopards, after the affrighted game. How they could 
retain such a reserve of fiery power after the work 
they had accomplished, seemed hard to explain. But 
on our side, besides the physical superiority, was a 
tower of moral strength, namely, the king's name, 
' which they upon the adverse faction wanted.' Pass- 
ing them without an effort, as it seemed, we threw 
them into the rear witK so lengthening an interval 
between us, as proved in itself the bitterest mockery 
of their presumption ; whilst our guard blew back a 
shattering blast of triumph, that was really too pain- 
fully full of derision, 

I mention this little incident for its connection with 
what followed. A Welsh rustic, sitting behind me, 
asked if I had not felt my heart bum within me 
during the progress of the race? I said, with phi- 
losophic calmness. No ; because we were not racing 
with a mail, so that no glory could be gained. In 
fact, it was sufficiently mortifying that such a Birming- 
ham thing should dare to challenge us. The Welsh- 
man replied, that he didn't see that; for that a cat 
might look at a king, and a Brummagem coach might 
lawfully race the Holyhead mail. ' Rate us, if you 

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like,' I jreplied, ^ thougli even that has an air of sedi« 
tion, but not heat us. This would have been treason ; 
and for its own sake I am glad that the "Tallyho" was 
disappointed.' So dissatisfied did the Welshman seem 
with this opinion, that at last I was obliged to tell him a 
very fine story from one of our elder dramatists — viz., 
that once, in some *far oriental kingdom, when tho 
sultan of all the land, with his princes, ladies, and 
chief omrahs, were flying their falcons, a hawk sud- 
denly flew at a majestic eagle ; and in defiance of the 
eagle's natural advantages, in contempt also of the 
eagle's traditional royalty, and before the whole as- 
sembled field of Qfitonished spectators horn Agra, and 
Lahore, killed the eagle on the spot. Amazement 
seized the sidtan at the unequal contest, and burning 
admiration for its unparalleled result. He commanded 
that the hawk should be brought before him; he 
caressed the bird with enthusiasm; and he ordered 
that, for the commemoration of his matchless courage, 
a diadem of gold and rubies should be solemnly placed 
on the hawk's head ; but then that, immediately after 
this solemn coronation, the bird should be led ofl" to 
execution, as the most valiant indeed of traitors, but 
not the less a traitor, as having dared to rise rebel- 
Uously against his liege lord and anointed sovereign, 
the eagle. ' Now,' said I to the Welshman, * to you 
and me, as men of refined sensibilities, how painful it 
would have been that this poor Brummi^em brute, 
the " Tallyho," in the impossible case of a victory over 
us, should have been crowned with Birmingham tinsel, 
with paste diamonds, and Roman pearls, and then led 
off* to instant execution.' The Welshman doubted if 
that could be warranted by law. And when I fainted 

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at the 6tli of Edwaxd Longshanks, chap. -18, for rega* 
lating the precedency of coaches, as being probably 
the statute relied on for the capital punishment of 
such offences, he replied drily, that if the attempt to 
pass a mail really were treasonable, it was a pity that 
the *■ Tallyho ' appeared to have so imperfect an ac- 
quaintance with law. • 

The modem modes of travelling cannot compare 
with the old mail-coach system in grandeur and 
power. They boast of more velocity, not, however, 
as a consciousness, but as a fact of our lifeless knowl- 
edge, resting upon alien evidence; as, for instance, 
because somebody says that we have gone fifty miles 
in the hour, though we are far from feeling it as a per- 
sonal experience, or upon the evidence of a restdt, as 
that actually we find ourselves in York four hours 
after leaving London. Apart from such an assertion, 
or such a result, I myself am little aware of the pace. 
But, seated on the old mail-coach, we needed no evi- 
dence out of ourselves to indicate the velocity. On 
this system the word was, Non magna loquimur, as 
upon railways, but vivimus. Yes, ' magna vivimus ; * 
we do not make verbal ostentation of our grandeurs, 
we realize our grandeurs in act, and in the very ex- 
perience of life. The vital experience of the glad 
animal sensibilities made doubts impossible on the 
question of our speed ; we heard our speed, we saw it, 
yre felt it as a thrilling ; and this speed was not the 
product of blind insensate agencies, that had no sym- 
pathy to give, but was incarnated in the fiery eyeballs 
of the noblest amongst brutes, in his dilated nostril, 
spasmodic muscles, and thunder-beating hoofs. The 
sensibility of the horse, uttering itself in the maniac 

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light of his eye, might be the last vibration of such a 
movement ; the glory of Salamanca might be the first. 
But the intervening links that connected them, that 
spread the earthquake of battle into the eyeball of the 
horse, were the heart of man and its electric thrillings 
— kindling in the rapture of the fiery strife, and then 
propagating its own tumults by contagious shouts and 
gestures to the heart of his servant the horse. 

But now, on the new system of travelling, iron 
tubes and boilers have disconnected man's heart from 
the ministers of his locomotion. Nile nor Trdfalgar 
has power to raise an extra bubble in a steam-kettle. 
The galvanic cycle is broken up for ever ; man's impe- 
rial nature no longer sends itself forward through the 
electric sensibility of the horse ; the inter-agencies are 
gone in the mode of communication between the horse 
and his master, out of which grew so many aspects of 
sublimity under accidents of mists that hid, or sudden 
blazes that revealed, of mobs that agitated, or midnight 
solitudes that awed. Tidings, fitted to convulse all 
nations, must henceforwaxds travel by ctdinary pro- 
cess ; and the trumpet that once announced from afar 
the laurelled mail, heart-shaking, when heard scream- 
ing on the wind, and proclaiming itself through the 
darkness to every village or solitary house on its route, 
has now given way for ever to the pot- wallopings of 
the boiler. 

Thus have perished multiform openings for public 
expressions of interest, scenical yet natural, in great 
national tidings ; for revelations of faces and groups 
that could not offer themselves amongst the fluctuating 
mobs of a railway station. The gatherings of gazers 
about a laurelled mail had one centre, and acknowl- 

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edged one sole interest. But the crowds attending at 
a railway station have as little unity as running water, 
and own as many centres as there are separate car- 
riages in the train. 

How else, for example, than as a constant watcher 
for the dawn, and for the London mail that in summer 
months entered about daybreak amongst Ihe lawny 
thickets of Marlborough forest, couldst thou, sweet 
Fanny of the Bath road, have become the glorified 
inmate of my dreams? Yet Fanny, as ike loveliest 
young woman for face and person that perhaps in my 
whole life I have beheld, merited the station which 
even now, from a distance of forty years, she holds in 
my dreams ; yes, though by links of natural association 
she brings along with her a troop of dreadful creatures, 
fabulous and not fabulous, that are more abominable 
to the heart, than Fanny and the dawn are delightful. 

Miss Fanny of the Bath road, strictly speaking, 
lived at a mile's distance ^m the road ; but came so 
continually to meet the mail, that I on my frequent ' 
transits rarely missed her, and naturally connected her 
image with the great thorough£Btre where only I had 
ever seen her. Why she came so punctually, I do not 
exactly know; but I believe with some burden of 
commissions to be executed in Bath, which had gath- 
ered to her own residence as a central rendezvous for 
converging them. The mail-coachman who drove the 
Bath mail, and wore the royal livery,^ happened to be 
Fanny's grandfather. A good man he was, that loved 
his beautiful granddaughter ; and, loving her wisely, 
was vigilant over her deportment in any case where 
young Oxford might happen to be concerned. Did my 
vanity then suggest that I myself individually, could fall 

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within the line of his terrors? Certainly not, as 
regarded any physical pretensions that I could plead ; 
for Fanny (as a chance passenger from her own neigh- 
borhood once told me) counted in her train a hundred 
and ninety-nine professed admirers, if not open aspi- 
rants to her favor ; and probably not one of the whole 
brigade but excelled myself in personal advantages. 
Ulysses even, with the unfair advantage of his accursed 
bow, cotdd hardly have undertaken that amount rf 
suitors. So the danger might have seemed slight — 
only that woman is universally aristocratic; it is 
amongst her nobilities of heart that she is so. Now, 
the aristocratic distinctions in my favor might easily 
with Miss Fanny have compensated my physical defi- 
ciencies. Did I then make love to Fanny? Why, 
yes ; about as much love as one could make whilst the 
mail was changing horses — a process which, ten years 
later, did not occupy above eighty seconds ; but tJien 
— viz., about Waterloo — it occupied five times eighty. 
Now, four hundred seconds offer a field quite ample 
enough for whispering into a young woman's ear a 
great deal of truth, and (by way of parenthesis) some 
trifle of falsehood. Grandpapa did right, therefore, to 
watch me. And yet, as happens too often to the 
grandpapas of earth, in a contest with the admirers of 
granddaughters, how vainly would he have watched 
me had I meditated any evil whispers to Fanny ! She, 
it is my belief, would have protected herself against 
any man's evil suggestions. But he, as the result 
showed, could not have intercepted the opportunities 
for such suggestions. Yet, why not ? Was he not 
active ? Was he not blooming ? Blooming he was as 
Fanny herself. 

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« Say, all our praises why should lords •^— * 
Stop, that's not the lino. 

* Say, all our roses why should girls engross ? ' 

The coachman showed rosy blossoms on his face 
deeper even than his granddaughter's — his being 
drawn from the ale cask, Fanny's from the fountains 
of the dawn. But, in spite of his blooming face, some 
infirmities he had ; and one particularly in which he 
iOo much resembled a crocodile. This lay in a mon- 
strous inaptitude for turning roimd. The crocodile, I 
presume, owes that inaptitude to the absurd length of 
his back ; but in our grandpapa it arose rather from 
the absurd breadth of his back, combined, possibly, 
with some growing stiffness in his legs. Now, upon 
this crocodile infirmity of his I planted a human ad- 
vantage for tendering my homage to Miss Fanny. In 
defiance of all his honorable vigilance, no sooner had 
he presented to us his mighty Jovian back (what a 
field" for displaying to ^mankind his royal scarlet ! '), 
whilst inspecting professionally the buckles, the straps, 
and the silvery turrets ^® of his harness, than 1 raised 
Miss Fanny's hand to my lips, and, by the mixed ten- 
derness and respectfulness of my manner, caused her 
easily to understand how happy it would make me to 
rank upon her list as No. 10 or 12, in which case a 
few casualties amongst her lovers (and observe, they 
hanged liberally in those days might have promoted 
me speedily to the top of the tree ; as, on the other 
hand, with how much loyalty of submission I acqui- 
esced by anticipation in her award, supposing that she 
should plant me in the very rearward of her favor, as 
No. 199 -f- I- Most truly I loved this beautiful and 
ingenuous girl; and had it not been for the Bath 

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mail, timing all courtsliips by post-office allowance, 
heaven only knows what might have come of it. Peo- 
ple talk of being over head and ears in love ; now, the 
mail was the cause that I sank only over ears in love, 
which, you know, still left a trifle of brain to overlook 
the whole conduct of the affair. 

Ah, reader ! when I look back upon those days, it 
seems to me that all things change — all things perish 
' Perish the roses and the palms of kings : ' perish eveo 
the crowns and trophies of Waterloo : thunder and 
lightning are not the thunder and lightning which I 
remember. Roses are degenerating. The Fannies of 
our island — though this I say with reluctance — are 
not visibly improving ; and the Bath road is notoriously 
superannuated. ^ Crocodiles, you will say, are station- 
ary. Mr. Waterton tells me that the crocodile does 
not change ; that a cayman, in fact, or an alligator, is 
just as good for riding upon as he was in the time of 
the Pharaohs. That may be ; but the reason is, that 
the crocodile does not live fast — he is a slow coach. 
I believe it is generally imderstood among naturalists, 
that the crocodile is a blockhead. It is my own im- 
pression that the Pharaohs were also blockheads. 
Now, as the Pharaohs and the crocodile domineered 
over Egyptian society, this accounts for a singular 
mistake that prevailed through innumerable genera- 
tions on the Nile. The crocodile made the ridiculous 
blunder of supposing man to be meant chiefly for his 
own eating. Man, taking a different view of the sub- 
ject, naturally met that mistake by another : he viewed 
the crocodile as a thing sometimes to worship, but al- 
ways to run away from. And this continued until Mr. 
Waterton ^^ changed the relations between the animals. 

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Th6 mode of escaping from tlie reptile lie showed to 
be, not by running away, but by leaping on its back, 
booted and spurred. The two animals had misunder^ 
stood each other. The use of the crocodile has now 
been cleared up — viz., to be ridden ; and the final 
cause of man is, that he may improve the health of the 
crocodile by riding him a fox-hunting before breakibst. 
And it is pretty certain that any ^ocodile, who has 
been regtdarly himted through the season, and is mas- 
ter of the weight he carries, will take a six-barred gate 
now as well as ever he would have done in the infancy 
of the pyramids. 

If, therefore, the crocodile does not change, all things 
else undeniably do : even the shadow of the pyramida 
grows less, ^d often the restoration in vision of 
Fanny and the Bath road, makes me too pathetically 
sensible of that truth. Out of the darkness, if I hap- 
pen to call back the imi^e of Fanny, up rises suddenly 
from a gulf of forty years a rose in June ; or, if 1 think 
for an instant of the rose in June, up rises the heavenly 
face of Fanny. One a|fter the other, like the antipho- 
nies in the choral service, rise Fanny «uid the rose in 
June, then back again the rose in June and Fanny. 
Then come both together, as in a chorus — roses and 
Fannies, Fannies and roses, without end, thick as blos^ 
soms in paradise. Then comes a venerable crocodile, 
in a royal livery of scarlet and gold, witii sixteen 
capes ; and the crocodile is driving four-in-hand from 
the box of the Bath mail. And suddenly we upon the 
mail are pulled up by a mighty dial, sculptured with 
^e hours, that mingle with the heavens and the hea- 
venly host. Then all at once we are arrived at Marl- 
borough forest, amongst the lovely households ^^ of Hkt 

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roe-d€6T; the deer and their fawns retire into the 
dewy thickets ; the thickets are rich with roses ; once 
again the roses call up the sweet countenance of Fanny ; 
and she, being the granddaughter of a crocodile, awak>- 
ens a dreadful host of semi-legendary animals — griffins, 
dragons, basilisks, sphinxes — till at length the whole 
vision of fighting images crowds into one towering 
armorial shield, a vast emblazonry of human charities 
and human loveliness that have perished, but quartered 
heraldically with unutterable and demoniac natures, 
whilst over all rises, as a surmounting crest, one fair 
female hand, with the forefinger pointing, in sweet, 
sorrowful admonition, upwards to heaven, where is 
sculptured the eternal writing which proclaims the 
frailty of earth and her children. 


But the grandest <2hi^ter of our experience, within 
the whole mail-coach service, was on those occasions 
when we went down from London with the news of 
victory. A period of about ten years stretched from 
Trafalgar to Waterloo ; the second and third years of 
which period (1806 and 1807) were comparatively 
sterile ; but the other nine (&om 1805 to 1815 inclu- 
sively) fuhiished a long succession of victories; the 
least of which, in such a contest of Titans, had an 
inappreciable value of position — partly for its absolute 
interference with the plans of our enemy, but still more 
from its keeping alive tiirough central Europe the 
sense of a deep-seated vulnerability in France. Even 
to tease the coasts of our enemy, to mortify them by 
continual blockades, to insult them by capturing if it 
I hut a baubling schooner under l^e eyes of theiir 

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arrogant armies, repeated from time to time a sullen 
proclamation of power lodged in one quarter to which 
the hopes of Christendom turned in secret. How much 
more loudly must this proclamation have spoken in the 
audacity ^ 3 of having hearded the elite of their troops, 
and having heaten them in pitched battles ! Five years 
of life it was worth paying down for the privilege of an 
outside place on a mail-coach, when cajrying down the 
first tidings of any such event. And it is to be noted 
that, from our insular situation, and the multitude of 
our frigates disposable for the rapid transmission of 
intelligence, rarely did any unauthorized rumor steal 
away a prelibation from the first aroma of the regular 
despatches. The government news was generally the 
earliest news. 

From eight p. m., to fifteen or twenty minutes later, 
imagine the mails assembled on parade in Lombard 
Street, where, at that time,^^ and not in St. Martin' s- 
le-Grand, was seated the General Post-office. In what 
exact strength we mustered I do not remember ; but, 
from the length of each separate aitelage^ we filled the 
street, though a long one, and though we were drawn 
up in double file. On any night the spectacle was 
beautiful. The absolute perfection of all the appoint- 
ments about the carriages and the harness, their 
strength, their brilliant cleanliness, their beautiful 
simplicity — but, more than all, the royal magnificence 
of the horses — were what might first 'have fixed the 
attention. Every carriage, on every morning in the 
year, was taken down to an official inspector for exam- 
ination — wheels, axles, linchpins, poles, glasses, lamps, 
were all critically probed and tested. Every part of 
every carriage had been cleaned, every horse had been 

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groomed, with as much rigor as if they belonged to a 
private gentleman ; and that part of the spectacle 
offered itself always. But the night before us is a 
night of victory ; and, behold ! to the ordinary display, 
what a heart-shaking addition ! — horses, men, car- 
riages, all are dressed in laurels and flowers, oak-leaves 
and ribbons. The guards, as being officially his Maj- 
esty's servants, and of the .coachmen such as are within 
the privilege of the post-office, wear the royal liveries 
of course ; and as it is summer (for all the land victo- 
ries were naturally won in summer), they wear, on this 
fine evening, these liveries exposed to view, without 
any covering of upper coats. Such a costume, and the 
elaborate arrangement of the laurels in their hats, dilate 
their hearts, by giving to them openly a personal con- 
nection with the great news, in which already they 
have the general interest of patriotism. That great 
national sentiment surmounts and quells all sense of 
ordinary distinctions. Those passengers who happen 
to be gentlemen are now hardly to be distinguished as 
such except by dress; for the usual reserve of their 
manner in speaking to the attendants has on this night 
melted away. One heart; one pride, one glory, con- 
nects every man by the transcendent bond of his 
national blood. The spectators, who are numerous 
beyond precedent, express their sympathy with these 
fervent feelings by continual hurrahs. Every moment 
are shouted aloud by the post-office servants, and sum- 
moned to draw up, the great ancestral names of cities 
known to history through a thousand years — Lincoln, 
Winchester, Portsmouth, Gloucester, Oxford, Bristol, 
Manchester, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, 
Perth, Stirling, Aberdeen — expressing the grandeur 

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of the empire by the antiquity of it« towns, and the 
grandeur of the mail establishment by the diffusive 
radiation of its separate missions. Every moment you 
hear thunder of lids locked down upon the mail-bags. 
That sound to each individual mail is the signal for 
drawing off, which process is the finest part of jbhe 
entire spectacle. Then come the horses into play. 
Horses ! can these be horses that bound off with the 
action and gestures of leopards ? What stir I — what 
sea-like ferment ! — what a thundering of wheels ! — 
what a trampling of hoofe! — what a sounding of 
trumpets ! — what farewell cheers — wlAt redoubling 
peals of brotherly congratulation, connecting tiie name 
of the particular mail — ' Liverpool for' ever I ' — witii 
the name of the particular victory — ' Bada^oz for 
ever ! ' or ' Salamanca for ever ! ' The halfHslumbering 
consciousness that, all night long and all the next 
day — perhaps for even a longer period — many of 
these mails, like fixe racing along a train of gunpow- 
der, will be kindling at ev^y instant new successions 
of burning joy, has an obscure effect of multiplying 
the victory itself, by multiplying to the imaginatioii 
into infinity the stages of its progressive diffusion. A 
fiery arrow seems to be let loose, which from that mo- 
ment is destined to travel, without intermission, vrestn 
wards for three hundred *^ miles — * northwards for 
six hundred; and the sympathy of our Lombard 
Street friends at parting is exalted a hundredfold by 
a sort of visionary sympathy with the yet slumbering 
sympathies which in so vast a succession we are going 
to awake. 

Liberated fh)m the embarrassments of the city, and 
issuing into the broad uncrowded avenues of the nocdir 

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era miburbs, we soon begin to enter upon our natural 
pace of ten miles an hour. In the broad light of the 
summer evening, the sun, perhaps, only just at the 
point of setting, we are seen from every story of every 
house. Heads of every age crowd to the windows — 
young and old understand the language of our victori- 
ous symbols-* and rolling volleys of sympathizing 
cheers ran along us, behind us, and before us. The 
b^gar, rearing himself against the wall, forgets his 
lameness — real or assmned — thinks not of his whin- 
ing trade, but stands erect, with bold exulting smiles, 
as we pass him. The victory has healed him, and 
says. Be thou whole ! Women and children, from 
garrets alike and cellars, through infinite London, loo^ 
down or look up with loving eyes upon our gay rib- 
bons and our martial laurels; sometimes kiss their 
hands; sometimes hang out, as signals of affection^ 
pocket-handkerchiefs, aprons,, dusters, anything that, 
by catching the summer breezes, will express an aerial 
jubilation. On the London side of Barnet, to which 
we draw near within a few minuties after nine, observe 
that private carriage which is approaching us. The 
weather being so warm, the glasses are all down ; and 
one may read, as on the stage of a theatre, everything 
that goes on within. It contains three ladies — one 
likely to be ' mamma,' and two of seventeen or eigh- 
teen, who are probably her daughters. What lovely 
animation, what beautiful unpremeditated pantomime, 
explaining to us every syllable that passes, in these in- 
genuous girls ! By the sudden start and raising of the 
hands, on first discovering our laurelled equipage ! — 
by the sudden movement and appeal to the elder lady 
from both of them — and by the heightened color on 

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their animated countenances, we can almost hear them 
saying, * See, see ! Look at their laurels ! Oh, 
mamma ! there has been a great battle in Spain ; 
and it has been a great victory.' In a moment we 
are on the point of passing them. We passengers — 
I on the box, and the two on the roof behind me — 
raise our hats to the ladies ; the coachman makes his 
professional salute with the whip ; the guard even, 
though punctilious on the matter of his dignity as an 
officer under the crown, touches his hat. The ladies 
move to us, in return, with a winning graciousness of 
gesture ; all smile on each side in a way that nobody 
could misunderstand, and that nothing short of a grand 
national sympathy could so instantaneously prompt. 
Will these ladies say that we are nothing to them 7 
Oh, no ; they will not say tJiat They cannot deny — 
they do not deny — that for this night they are our 
sisters ; gentle or simple, scholar or illiterate servant, 
for twelve hours to come, we on the outside have the 
honor to be their brothers. Those poor women, again, 
who stop to gaze upon us with delight at the entrance 
of Bamet, and seem, by their air of weariness, to be 
returning from labor — do you mean to say that they 
are washerwomen and charwomen ? Oh, my poor 
friend, you are quite mistaken. I assure you they 
stand in a far higher rank ; for this one night they feel 
themselves by birthright to be daughters of England, 
and answer to no humbler title. 

Every joy, however, even rapturous joy — such is 
the sad law of earth — may carry with it grief, or fear 
of grief, to some. Three miles beyond Bamet, we see 
approaching us another private carriage, nearly repeat- 
ing the circumstances of the former case. Here, also. 

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the glasses are all down — here, also, is an elderly 
lady seated ; but the two daughters are missing ; for 
the single young 'person sitting by the lady's side, 
seems to be an 'attendant — so I judge from her dress, 
and her air of respectful reserve. The lady is in 
mourning ; and her countenance expresses sorrow. 
At first she does not look up ; so that I believe she 
is not aware of our approach, until she hears the 
measured beating of our horses' hoofs. Then she 
raises her eyes to settle them painfully on our tri- 
umphal equipage. Our decorations explain the case 
to her at once ; but she beholds them with appa- 
rent anxiety, or even with terror. Some time before 
this, I, finding it difficult to hit a flying mark, when 
embarrassed by the coachman's person and reins inter- 
vening, had given to the guard a ' Courier ' evening 
paper, containing the gazette, for^the next carriage that 
might pass. Accordingly he tossed it in, so folded 
that the huge capitals expressing some such legend 
as — GLOKious vicxoET, might catch the eye at 
once. To see the paper, however, at all, interpreted 
as it was by our ensigns of triumph, explained every- 
thing ; and, if the guard were right in thinking the 
lady to have received it with a gesture of horror, 
it could not be doubtful that she had suffered some 
deep personal affliction in connection with this Span- 
ish war. 

Here, now, was the case of one who, having formerly 
suffered, might, erroneously perhaps, be distressing 
herself with anticipations of another similar suffering. 
That same night, and hardly three hours later, oc- 
curred the reverse case. A poor woman, who too 
probably would find herself, in a day or two, to 

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have suffered the heayiest afflictiona by tW batik, 
blindly allowed herself to express aa exultation so 
unmeasured in the news and its details, as gave to her 
the appearance which amongst Celtic Highlanders is 
called fey. This was at some Httle town where we 
changed horses an hour or two after midnight. Some 
fair or wake had kept the people vip out of their beds, 
and had occasioned a partial illumination of thje stalls 
and booths, presenting an imusual but very impressive 
effect. We saw many lights moving about as we drew 
near ; and perhaps the most striking scene on the 
whole route was our reception at this place. The 
flashing of torches and the beautiful radiance of blue 
lights (technically, Bengal lights) upon the heads of 
our horses ; the fine effect of such a showery and 
ghostly illumination falling upon our flowers and 
glittering laurels ;. ^^ whilst all around ourselves, that 
formed a centre of Hght, the darkness gathered on the 
rear and flanks in massy blackness ; these optical 
splendors, together with the prodigious enthusiasm 
of the people, composed a picture at once scenical 
and affecting, theatrical and holy. As we staid for 
three pr four minutes, I ali^ted ; and immediately 
from a dismantled stall in the street, where no doubt 
she had been presiding through the earlier part of the 
night, advanced eagerly a middle-aged woman. ThQ 
sight of my newspaper it was that had drawn her at-^ 
tention upon mys^* The victory which we were 
carrying down to the provicvces on this occasion, was 
the imperfect one of Talavera — imperfect for its re- 
sults, such was the virtual treachery of the Spanish 
general, CuesJta, but not imperfect in its ever-memora- 
ble, heroism. I told her the n&^ QutUne of the battle. 

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The agitation of her entbufiiasm had been so con- 
spicuous when listening, and when first applying for 
information, that I could not but ask her if she had 
not some relative in the Peninsular army. Oh, yes ; 
her only son was there. In what regiment ? He was 
a trooper in the 23d Drag6on0. My heart sank within 
me as she made that answer. Thia sublime regiment, 
which an Englishman should never mention without 
raising his hat to their memory, had made the most 
memorable and effective charge recorded in military 
annals. They leaped their horses — over a trench 
where they could, into it, and with the result of death 
or mutilation when they could not. What proportion 
cleared the trench is nowhere stated. Those who did^ 
closed up and went down upon the enemy with such 
divinity of fervor (I use the word divinity by design : 
the inspiration of God must have prompted this move- 
ment to those whom even then he was calling to his 
presence), that two results followed. As regarded the 
enemy, this 23d Dragoons, not, I believe, originall]!^ 
t&ree hundred and fifty strong, -paralyzed a French 
column, six thousand strong, then ascended the^ hill» 
and fixed the gaze of the whole French army. As 
regarded themselveS) the 20d were supposed at first 
to have been barely not annihilated y but eventually, 
I believe, about one in four survived. And this, then, 
was the regiment — a regim^^t already fox some hours 
glorified and hallowed to the ear af M London* as 
lying stretched, by a large majcmty, upon one bloody 
ae^dama — in which the young trooper served whose 
mother was now talking in a spurit of such joyoua 
enthusiasm. Did I tdl her the truth? Had I iik9 
he«¥t to l»eak up her dr^ama ? No. To-morrow, said 
I to myself — to-morrow, or the next day, will piiibtidi 

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the worst. For one night more, wherefore should she 
not sleep in peace ? After to-morrow, the chances are 
too many that peace will forsake her pillow. This 
brief respite, then, let her owe to my gift and my for- 
bearance. But, if I told her not of the bloody price 
that had been paid, not, therefore, was I silent on th3 
contributions from her son's regiment to that day's ser- 
vice and glory. I showed her not the funeral banners 
under which the noble regiment was sleeping. I lifted 
not the oyershadowing laurels from the bloody trench 
in which horse and rider lay mangled together. But 
I told her how these dear.children of England, officers 
and privates, had leaped their horses over all obstacles 
as gayly as hunters to the morning's chase. I told her 
how they rode their horses into the mists of death 
(saying to myself, but not saying to Aer), and laid 
down their young lives for thee, O mother England ! 
as willingly — poured out their noble blood as cheer- 
fully — as ever, after a long day's sport, when infants, 
they had rested their wearied heads upon their moth- 
er's knees, or had sunk to sleep in her arms. Strange 
it is, yet true, that she seemed to have no fears for her 
son's safety, even after this knowledge that the 23d 
Dragoons had been memorably engaged ; but so much 
was she enraptured by the knowledge that his regi- 
ment, and therefore that Ae, had rendered conspicuous 
service in the dreadful conflict — a service \Yhich had 
actually made them, within the last twelve hours, the 
foremost topic of conversation in London — so abso« 
lutely was fear swallowed up in joy — that, in the 
mere simplicity of her fervent nature, the poor woman 
threw her arms round my neck, as she thought of her 
son, and gave to me the kiss which secretly was meant 
for him. 

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What is to be taken as the predominant opinion of 
man, reflective and philosophic, upon sudden death ? 
It is remarkable that, in different conditions of society, 
sudden death has been variously regarded as the con- 
summation of an earthly career most fervently to be 
desired, or, again, as that consummation which is with 
most horror to be deprecated. Caesar the Dictator, 
at his last dinner party (oena), on the very evening 
before his assassination, when the minutes of his earth- 
ly career were numbered, being asked what death, in 
his judgment, might be pronounced the most eligible, 
replied, ' That which should be most sudden.' On 
the other hand, the divine Litany of our English 
Church, when breathing forth supplications, as if in 
some representative character for the whole human 
race prostrate before God, places such a death in the 
very van of horrors : — ' From lightning and tempest ; 
from plague, pestilence, and famine ; from battle and 
murder, and from sudden dsath — Good Lord^ dC' 
liver U8,' Sudden death is here made to crown the 
dimax in a grand ascent of calamities ; it is ranked 
among the last of curses ; and yet, by the noblest of 


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Eomans, it was ranked as the first of blessings. In 
that difference, most readers will see little more than 
the essential difference between Christianity and Pa- 
ganism. But this, on consideration, I doubt. The 
Christian Church may be right in its estimate of sud- 
den death ; and it is a natural feeling, though after all 
it may also be an infirm one, to wish for a quiet dis- 
missal from life — as that which seems most reconcil- 
able with meditation, with penitential retrospects, and 
with the humilities of farewell prayer. There does 
not, however, occur to me any direct scriptural war- 
rant for thi» earnest petition of thQ English Litsffiy, 
unless under a spedal construction of the word ' sud- 
den.' It seems a petition — indulged rather and con- 
ceded to human infirmity, than exacted from humaa 
piety. It is not so much a doctrine built upon the 
etearnitiea of the Chdstian syst^xi« as a plausible opin- 
ion built upon special varietiea of physical tempera- 
ment. Let that, howerer, be a» it may, two remarks 
suggest themselves as prudent restraints upon a doc- 
trine, which else may wande?^, and has wandered, into 
an uncharitable superstition. The first is this : that 
many people are likely to exaggerate the horror of a 
sudden death, from the disposition to lay a false stress 
upon words or acts, simply because by an accident 
they have become Jlnal words or acts. If a man dies, 
for instance, by some sudden death whetn he happens 
to be intoxicated, sudi a death is falsely regarded with 
peeuliar Horror ; as though the intoxication were sud- 
denly exalted into a blasphemy. But that is unphilo- 
sepMo. The man was, or he was net, hahitually a 
dinmkard. If not, if his intoxication were a soli^uy 
aq^d^t, ti^ore can be no reason fox Rowing spQpial 

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THE ytmmi Of 8^D!99ii 9x^:c9. IM 

enirhasb to this act, dm^dj because through zniafor- 
tune it became hi& final act. Nor, on the otiier hand, 
if it were no accident, but one of hia habitual trans* 
gressions, will it be the more habitual or the more a 
transgression, because some sudden calamity surprising 
him, haa caused thia habitual transgression to be also 
a final one. Could the man have had any reason even 
dimly to foresee his own sudden death, there would 
have been a new feature in his act of intemperance — 
feature of presumption and irreverence, as in one that, 
having known himself drawing near to the presence of 
God, should have suited his demeanor to an expecta- 
tion so awful. But this is no part o£ the case sup- 
posed. And the only new element in tke man's act is 
not any element of special immorality, but simply of 
special misfortune. 

The other r^nark has reference to the meaning of 
the word sudden. Very* possibly Csesar and the Chrisr 
tian Church do not differ in the way supposed ; that 
is^ do not differ by any difference of doctrine as be- 
tween Pagan and Christian viewa of the moral temper 
appropriate to death, but perhaps they are contem- 
plating different cases. Both contemplate a violent 
death, a BioAavatot ^ death that is Biouog^ or, in other 
words, death that is brought about, not by internal 
a;ul ^pontimeous change, but by active force, having 
its origin from without. In this meamng the two 
authorities, a^ee. Thus far ihey are in harmony. 
But the difference is, that the Roman by the word 
* sudden ' means unlingering ; whereas the Christian 
Litany by * sudden death ' means a death withotU 
warnings consequently without any available summons 
to veligiouA preparation. The poor mutineer, who 

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kneels down to gather into his heart the bullets from 
twelve firelocks of his pitying comrades, dies by a 
most sudden death in Caesar's sense ; one shock, one 
mighty spasm, one (possibly not one) groan, and all is 
over. But in the sense of the Litany, the mutineer's 
death is far from sudden ; his oflfence originally, his 
imprisonment, his trial, the interval between his sen- 
tence and its execution, having all furnished him with' 
separate warnings of his fate — having all summoned 
him to meet it with solemn preparation. , 

Here at once, in this sharp verbal distinction, we 
comprehend the faithful earnestness with which a holy 
Christian Church pleads on behalf of her poor depart- 
ing children, that God would vouchsafe to them the 
last great privilege and distinction possible on a death- 
bed — viz., the opportunity of untroubled preparation 
for facing this mighty trial. Sudden death, as a mere 
variety in the modes of dying, where death in some 
shape is inevitable, proposes a question of choice 
which, equally in the Roman and the Christian sense, 
will be variously answered according to each man's 
variety of temperament. Meantime, one aspect of 
sudden death there is, one modification, upon which 
no doubt can arise, that of all martyrdoms it is the 
most agitating — viz., where it surprises a man under 
circumstances which offer (or which seem to offer) 
some hurrying, flying, inappreciably minute chance of 
evading it. Sudden as the danger which it affronts, 
must be any effort by which such an evasion can be 
accomplished. Even that, even the sickening necessi- 
ty for hurrying in extremity where all hurry seems 
destined to be vain, even that anguish is liable to a 
hideous exasperation in one particular case — viz.. 

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where the appeal is made not exclusively to the in- 
stinct of self-preservation, but to the conscience, on 
behalf of some other life besides your own, accidentally 
thrown upon your protection. To fail, to collapse in 
a service merely your own, might seem comparatively 
venial ; though, in fact, it is far from venial. But to 
fail in a case where Providence has suddenly thrown into 
your hands the final interests of another — a fellow- 
creature shuddering between the Agates of life and 
death ; this, to a man of apprehensive conscience, 
would mingle the misery of an atrocious criminality 
with the misery of a bloody calamity. You are called 
upon, by the case supposed, possibly to die ; but to die 
at the very moment when, by any even partial failure, 
or effeminate collapse of your energies, you will be 
self-denoimced as a murderer. You had but the 
twinkling of an eye for your effort, and that effort 
might have been unavailing ; but to have risen to the 
level of such an effort, would have rescued you, 
though not from dying, yet from dying as a traitor 
to your final and farewell duty. 

The situation here contemplated exposes a dreadful 
ulcer, lurking far down in the depths of human nature. 
It is not that men generally are summoned to face 
such awful trials. But potentially, and in shadowy 
outline, such a trial is moving subterraneously in per- 
haps all men's natures. Upon the secret mirror of 
our dreams such a trial is darkly projected, perhaps, 
to every one of us. That dream, so familiar to child- 
hood, of meeting a lion, and, through languishing 
prostration in hope and the energies of hope, that 
constant sequel of lying down before the lion, pub- 
lishes the secret firailty of human nature — reveals its 

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deep-9eated falsehood to itself —^ records its abysmal 
treachery. Perhaps not one of ua escapes that dream ; 
perhaps, as by some sorrowful doom of man, that 
dream repeats for every one of us, through every 
generation, the original temptation in Eden. Every 
one of us, in this dream, has a bait offered to the 
infirm places of his own individual will ; once again 
a snare is presented for tem^^ng him into captivity to 
a luxury of ruin ; once again, as in aboriginal Parar 
dise, the man falls by his own choice ; again, by 
infinite' iteration, the ancient Earth groans to Heaven^ 
through her secret caves, over the weakness of her 
child : ' Nature, from her seat, sighing through all h^ 
works,' again ' gives signs of wo that all is lost ; ' and 
again the couhter sigh is repeated to the sorrowing 
heavens for the endless rebellion against God. It ia 
not without probability that in thfe world of dreams 
every one of us latifies fbr himself the original trans- 
gression. In dreams, perhaps under some secret 
conflict of the midnight sleeper, lighted up to th& 
consciousness at the time,^ but darkened to the mem^ 
ory as soon as all is finished,, each several child of our 
mysterious race completes for himaelf the treason of 
the aboriginal fall, ^ 

The incident, so memorable in itself by its features 
of horror, and so scenical by its grou^m^ for the eye, 
which furnished the text for this reverie upon Sudden 
Deaths occurred to myself in the dead of night, as a 
solitary spectator, when seated on the box of the 
Manchester and Olasgow mail, in the second or third 
summer after Waterloo. . I find it necessary to relate 
tile circumstances^ because they axe such as could not 

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liave occurred unless under a singular combination of 
accidents. In those days, the oblique and lateral 
communications with many rural post-offices were so 
arranged, either through necessity or through defect 
of system, as to. make it requisite for the main north* 
western mail {L e., the down mail), on reaching Man* 
Chester, to halt for a number of hours ; how many, I 
do not remember ; six or seven, I think ; but the 
result was, that, in the ordinary course, the mail 
lecommenced its journey northwards about midnight. 
Wearied with the long detention at a^ gloomy^ hotel, 
I walked *ottt about eleven o'clock at night for the 
sake of fresh air ; meaning to fall in with the mail 
and resume my seat at the post-office. The night, 
however, being yet dark, as the moon had scarcely 
risen, and the streets being at that hour empty, so as to 
offer no opportunities for asking the road, I lost my 
way ; and did not reach the post-office until it was con- 
siderably past midnight ; but, to my great relief (as it 
was important for me to be in Westmoreland by the 
morning), I saw in the huge saucer eyes of the mail, 
blazing through the gloom» an evidence that my 
chance was not yet lost. Past the time it was, but, 
by some rare accident, the mail was not even yet 
ready to ^^art. I ascended to my seat on the box, 
where my cloak was still lying as it had lain at the 
Bridgewater Arms. I had left it there in imitation 
of a nautical discoverer, who lejfcves a bit of bunting 
on the shore of his discovery, by way of warning off 
the ground the whole human race, and notifying to 
the Christian and the heathen worlds, with his best 
compliments, that he has hoisted his pocket-hand ker* 
, duef once and for ever upon that virgin soil ; thence-i 

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forward claiming the jus dominii to tlie top of the 
atmosphere above it, and also the right of driving 
shafts to the centre of the earth below it ; so that all 
people found after this warning, either aloft in upper 
chambers of the atmosphere, or groping in subterrane- 
ous shafts, or squatting audaciously on the surface of 
the soil, will be treated as trespassers — kicked, that is 
to say, or decapitated, as circumstances may suggest, by 
their very faithful servant, the owner of the said pocket- 
handkerchief. In the present case, it is probable that 
my cloak might not have been respected, and the jus 
gentium might have been cruelly violated in my person 
— for, in the dark, people commit deeds of darkness, 
gas being a great ally of morality — but it so hap- 
pened that, on this night, there was no other outside 
passenger ; and thus the crime, which else was but too 
probable, missed fire for want of a criminal. 

Having mounted the box, I took a small quantity of 
laudanimi, having already travelled two hundred and 
fifty miles — viz., from a point seventy miles beyond 
London. In the taking of laudanum there was nothing 
extraordinary. But by accident it drew upon me the 
special attention of my assessor on the box, the coach- 
man. And in that also there was- nothing extraordi- 
nary. But by accident, and with great delight, it 
drew my own attention to the fact that this coachman 
was a monster in point of bulk, and that he had but 
one eye. In fact, he had been foretold by Virgil as 

' < Monstmm horrendum, informe, mgens qui lumen ademptum.' 

He answered to the conditions in every one of the 
items : — 1, a monster he was ; 2, dreadful ; 3, shape- 
less; 4, huge; 5, who had lost an eye. But why 

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should that delight me ? Had he been one of the 
Calendars in the 'Arabian Nights/ and had paid 
down his eye as the price of his criminal curiosity, 
what right had / to exult in his misfortune ? I did 
not exult : I delighted in no man's punishment, though 
it were even merited. But these personal distinctions 
(Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) identified in an instant an old 
friend of mine, whom I had known in the south for 
some years as the most masterly of mail-coachmen. 
He was the man in all Europe that could (if any 
could) have driven six-in-hand full gallop over Al 
Sirat — that dreadful bridge of Mahomet, with no 
side battlements, and of extra room not enough for a 
razor's edge — leading right across the bottomless 
gulf. Under this eminent man, whom in Greek I 
cognominated Cyclops diphr elates (Cyclops the cha- 
rioteer), I, and others known to me, studied the 
diphrelatic art. Excuse, reader, a word too elegant 
to be pedantic. As a pupil, though I paid extra fees, . 
it is to be lamented that I did not stand high iii his 
esteem. It showed his dogged honesty (though, ob- 
serve, not his discernment), that he could not see my 
merits. Let us excuse his absurdity in this particular, 
by remembering his want of an eye. Doubtless that 
made him blind to my merits. In the art of conversa- 
tion, however, he admitted that I had the whip-hand 
of him. On this present occasion, great joy was at 
our meeting. But what was Cyclops doing here? 
Had the medical men recommended northern air, op 
how ? I collected, from such explanations as he vol- 
unteered, that he had an interest at stake in some suit- 
at-law now pending at Lancaster ; so that probably he 
had got himself transferred to this station, for the pur- 

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pose of connecting with his professional puMuits ma 
instant readiness for the calls of his lawsuit. 

Meantime, what are we stopping for? Surely wa 
have now waited long enough. Oh, this procrastina- 
ting mail, and this procrastinating post-office ! Caa't 
they take a lesson upon that subject from, me 9 Soma 
people have called me procrastinating. Yet you are 
/ witness, reader, that I waa kept here waiting for the 
post-office. Will the post-office lay its hand on iti 
hearty in its moments of sobriety, and assert that erer 
it waited for me ? What are they about ? The guard 
tells me that there is a large extra accumidation of 
foreign mails this night, owing to irregularitieB caused 
by war, by wind, by weathar, in the packet service^ 
which as yet does not benefit at all by steam. For an 
extra hour, it seems, the post-office has bean engaged 
in threshing out the pure wheaten correspondence of 
Glasgow, and winnowing it from the chaff of all baser 
intermediate towns. But at last all is finished. Sound 
your horn, guard. Manchester, good-fey ; waVe lost 
an hour by your cfiminal conduct at the post-office : 
which, however, though I do not mean to part wil^ i 
serviceable ground of complaint, and one which really 
is such for the horses, to me saoretly is an advantage^ 
since it compels us to look shar{dy for this lost hour 
amongst the next eight or nine, and to racover it (if 
we can) at the rata of one mile axtara per hour. Off 
we are at last, and at eleven miles per hour : aad for 
the moment I detect no changes in the energy or in 
the skill of Cyclops. 

From Manchester to Kendal, which virtually (though 
not in law) is the capital of Westmoreland, there werta 
at this time seven etagee of eleven milee each. The 

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first five of these, counting from Manchester, terminate 
in Lancaster, which is therefore fifty-five miles north 
of Manchester, and the same distance exactly from 
Liverpool. The first three stages terminate in Preston 
(called, by way of distinction from other towns of that 
jxBJDid, proud Preston), at which place it is that the 
Separate roads from Liverpool and from Manchester to 
tiie north become confluent.''^ Within these first three 
stages lay the fcmndation, the progress, and termina- 
tion of our night's adventure. During the first stage, 
I found out that Cyclops was mortal : he was liable to 
the shocking affection of sleep — a thing which pre- 
viously I had never suspected. If a man indulges in 
the vicious habit of sleeping, all the skill in aurigation 
of Apollo himself, with the horses of Aurora to exe^ 
cute his notions, avail him nothing. ' Oh, Cyclops ! * 
I exclaimed, * thou art mortal. My friend, thou snor- 
est.* Through the first eleven miles, however, tiiis 
infirmity ;;— which I grieve to say that he shared with 
the whole Pagan Pantheon — i betrayed itself only by 
brief snatches. On waking up, he made an apology 
for himself, which, instead of mending matters, laid 
open a gloomy vista of coming disasters. The Bmor 
mer assizes, he reminded me, were now going on at 
Lancaster : in consequence of whidi, for tiiree nights 
and three days, he had not lain down in a bed. Dur- 
ing the day, he was waiting for his own summons as a 
witness on the trial in which he was interested: or 
else, lest he should be missing at the critical moment, 
was drinking with the other witnesses^ under the pas- 
toral surveillance of the attorneys. During the night, 
or that part of it which at sea would form the middle 
wateh, he was driving. This explanation certainly 

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accounted for liis drowsiness, but in a way which made 
it much more alarming ; since now, after several days* 
resistance to this infirmity, at length he was steadily 
giving way. Throughout the second stage he grew 
more and more drowsy. In the second mile of the 
third stage, he surrendered himself ^nally and without 
a struggle to his perilous temptation. All his past 
resistance had but deepened the weight of this final 
oppression. Seven atmospheres of sleep rested upon 
him ; and to consummate the case, our worthy guard, 
after singing ' Love amongst the Roses ' for perhaps 
thirty times, without invitation, and without applause, 
had in revenge moodily resigned himself to slumber — 
not so deep, doubtless, as the coachman's, but deep 
enough for mischief. And thus at l^t, about ten 
miles from Preston, it came about that I foimd myself 
left in charge of his Majesty's London and Glasgow 
mail, then running at the least twelve miles an hour. 

What made this negligence less criminal than else it 
must have been thought, was the condition of' the 
roads at night during the assizes. At that time, all 
the law business of populous Liverpool, and also of 
populous Manchester, with its vast cincture of popu- 
lous rural districts, was called up by ancient usage to 
the tribunal of Lilliputian Lancaster. To break up 
this old traditional usage required, 1, a conflict with 
powerful established interests; 2, a large system of 
new arrangements ; and 3, a new parliamentary statute. 
But as yet this change was merely in contemplation. 
As things were at present, twice in the year ^^ so vast 
a body of business rolled northwards, from the south- 
em quarter of the county, that for a fortnight at least 
it occupied the severe exertions of two judges in its 

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despatch. The consequence of this was, that every 
horse available for such a service, along the whole line 
of road, was exhausted in carrying down the multitudes 
of people who were parties to the different suits. By 
sunset, therefbre, it usually happened that, through 
utter exhaustion amongst men and horses, the roads 
sank into profound silence. Except the exhaustion in 
the vast adjacent county of York from a contested 
election, no such silence succeeding to no such fiery 
uproar was ever witnessed in England. 

On this occasion, the usual silence and solitude pre- 
vailed along the road. Not a hoof nor a wheel was to 
be heard. And to strengthen this false luxurious con- 
fidence in the noiseless roads, it happened also that 
the night was one of peculiar solemnity and peace. 
For my own part, though slightly alive to the possibil- 
ities of peril, I had so far yielded to the influence of 
the mighty calm as to sink into a profound reverie. 
The month was August, in the middle of which lay 
my own birth-day — a festival to every thoughtful man 
s^gesting solemn and often sigh-born ^^ thoughts. 
The county was my own native county — upon which, 
in its southern section, more than upon any equal area 
known to man past or present, had descended the 
original curse of labor in its heaviest form, not master- 
ing the bodies only of men as of slaves, or criminals in 
mines, but working through the fiery will. Upon no 
equal space of earth was, or ever had been, the same 
energy of human power put forth daily. At this par- 
ticular season also of the assizes, that dreadful hurri- 
cane of flight and pursuit, as it might have seemed to 
a stranger, which swept to and from Lancaster all day 
long, hunting the county up and down, and regularly 

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subsiding back into silence about sunset, could not fail 
(when united with this permanent distinction of Lan- 
cashire as the very metropolis and dtidal of labor) to 
point the thoughts pathetically upon that counter vis- 
ion of rest, of saintly repose from strife and sorrow, 
towards which, as to their secret haven, the profounder 
aspirations of man's heart are in solitude continually 
travelling. Obliquely upon our left we were nearing 
the sea, which also must, under the present circum- 
stances, be repeating the general state of halcyon 
repose. The sea, the atmosphere, the light, borc^ach 
an orchestral part in this universal lull. Moonlight, 
and the first timid tremblings of the dawn, were by 
this time blending ; and the blendings were brought 
into a still more exquisite state of imity by a slight 
silvery mist, motionless and dreamy, that covered the 
woods and fields, but with a veil of equable transpa- 
rency. Except the feet of our own horses, which, 
running on a sandy margin of the road, made but little 
disturbance, there was no sound abroad. In the 
clouds, and on the earth, prevailed the same majestic 
peace ; and in spite of all that the villain of a school- 
master has done for the ruin of our sublimer thoughts, 
which are the thoughts of our infancy, we still believe 
in no such nonsense as a limited atmosphere. What- 
ever we may swear with our false feigning lips, in our 
faithful hearts we still believe, and must for ever be- 
lieve, in fields of air traversing the total gulf between 
earth andihe central heavens. Still in the confidence 
of children that tread without fear every chamber in 
their father's house, and to whom no door is closed, 
we, in that Sabbatic vision which sometimes is revealed 
ibr an hour upon nights like this, ascend with easy 

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lieps from tbe sorrow-stricken fields of earth, upwards 
to the sandals of God. 

Suddenly, from thoughts like these, I was awakened 
to a sullen sound, as of some motion on the distant 
road. It stole upon the air for a moment ; I listened 
in awe ; but then it died away. Once roused, how- 
ever, I could not but observe with alarm the quickened 
motion of our horses. Ten years' experience had 
made my eye learned in the valuing of motion ; a^d I 
saw l^at we were now running thirteen miles an hour. 
I pretend to no presence of mind. On the contrary, 
my fear is, that I am miserably and shamefully de- 
ficient in that quality as regards action. The palsy 
of doubt and distraction hangs like some guilty weight 
of dark un&thomed remembrances upon my energies, 
when the signal is flying for action. But, on the 
other hand, this accursed gift I, have, as regards thought^ 
that in the first step towards the possibility of a mis* 
fortime, I see its total evolution ; in the radix of the 
series I see too certainly and too instantly its entire 
expansion ; in the first syllable of the dreadful sen- 
tence, I read already the last. It was not that I feared 
for ourselves. Us, our bulk and impetus charmed 
against peril in any collision. And I had ridden 
through too many hundreds of perils that were fright- 
ful to i^proach, that were matter of laughter to Jook 
back upon, the first face of which was horror — the 
parting face a jest, for any anxiety to rest upon our 
interests. The mail was not built, I felt assured, noi 
bespoke, that could betray me who trusted to its pro- 
tection. But any carriage that we could meet would 
be frail and light in comparison of ourselves. And 
I vemariL this ominous acddent of our situation. W« 

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were on the wrong side of the road. But then, it may 
be said, the other party, if other there was, might also 
be on the wrong side ; and two wrongs might make a 
right. That was not likely. The same motive which 
had drawn us to the right-hand side of the road — 
viz., the luxury of the soft beaten sand, as contrasted 
with the paved centre — would prove attractive to 
others. The two adverse carriages would therefore, to 
a certainty, be travelling on the same side ; and from 
thif side, as not being ours in law, the crossing over to 
the other would, of course, be looked for from us,^ 
Our lamps, still lighted, would give the impression of 
vigilance on our part. And every creature that met 
us, would rely upon us for quartering .^^ All this, and 
if the separate links of the anticipation had been a 
thousand times more, I saw, not discursively, or by 
effort, or by succession, but by one flash of horrid 
simultaneous intuition. 

Under this steady though rapid anticipation of the 
evil which might be gathering ahead, ah ! what a sul* 
len mystery of fear, what a sigh of wo, was that which 
stole upon the air, as again the far-off sound of a wheel 
was heard ? A whisper it was — a whisper from, 
perhaps, four miles off — secretly announcing a ruin 
that, being foreseen, was not the less inevitable ; that, 
being known, was not, therefore, healed. What could 
be done — who was it that could do it — to check the 
storm-flight of these maniacal horses ? Could I not 
seize the reins from the grasp of the slumbering coach- 
man ? You, reader, think that it would have been in 
your power to do so. And I quarrel not with your 
estimate of yourself. But, from the way in which the 
coachman's hand was viced between his upper and 

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lower thigh, t^ was impossihle. Easy, was it ? See, 
then, that bronze equestrian statue. The cruel rider 
has kept the bit in his horse's mouth for two centu- 
ries. Unbridle him, for a minute, if you please, and 
wash his mouth with water. Easy, was it ? Unhorse 
me, then, that imperial rider ; knock me those marble 
feet from those marble stirrups of Charlemagne. 

The sounds ahead strengthened, and were now too 
clearly the sounds of wheels. Who and what could 
it be? Was it industry in a taxed cart? Was it 
youthful gayety in a gig ? Was it sorrow that loiter- 
ed, or joy that raced ? For as yet the snatches of 
sound were too intermitting, from distance, to decipher 
the character of the motion. Whoever were the 
travellers, something must be done to warn them. 
Upon the other party rests the active responsibility, 
but upon ti8 — and, wo is me ! that us was reduced to 
my frail opium-shattered self — rests the responsibility 
of warning. Yet how should this be accomplished ? 
Might I not sound the guard's horn? Already, on 
the first thought, I was making my way over the roof 
to the guard's seat. But this, from the accident which 
I have mentioned, of the foreign nudls' being piled 
upon the roof, was a difficult and even dangerous at- 
tempt to one cramped by nearly three himdred nules 
of outside travelling. And, fortunately, before I had 
lost much time in the attempt, our frantic horses swept 
round an angle of the road, which opened upon us 
that final stage where the collision must be accom- 
plished, and the catastrophe sealed. All was appar- 
ently finished. The court was sitting ; the case was 
heard; the judge had finished; and the only verdict 
was yet in arrear. 

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Before us lay an avenue, straight as an arrow, six 
hundred yards, perhaps, in length ; and the umbrageous 
trees, which rose in a regular line from either side, 
meeting high overhead, gave to it the character of a 
cathedral aisle. These trees lent a deeper solemnity 
to the early light ; but there was still light enough to 
perceive, at the further end of this Gothic aisle, a frail 
reedy gig, in which were seated a young man, and by 
his side a young lady. Ah, young sir ! what are you 
about r If it is requisite that you should whisper your 
communications to this young lady — though really I 
see nobody, at an hour and on a road so solitary, likely 
to overhear you — is it therefore requisite that you 
should carry your lips forward to hers ? The little 
carriage is creeping on at one ndle an hour ; and the 
parties within it being thus tenderly engaged, are 
naturally bending down their heads. Between them 
and eternity, to all human calculation, there is but a 
minute and a-half. Oh heavens! what is it that I 
shall do ? Speaking or acting, what help can I offer ? 
Strange it is, and to a mere auditor of the tale might 
seem laughable, that I should need a suggestion from 
the ^ Iliad ' to prompt the sole resource that remained. 
Yet so it was. Suddenly I remembered the shout of 
Achilles, and its efEbct. But could I pretend to shout 
like the son of Peleus, aided by Pallas ? No : but 
then I needed not the shout that should alarm all Asia 
militant ; such a shout would suffice as might carry 
terror into the hearts of two thoughtless young peo- 
ple, and one gig horse. I shouted — and the young 
man heard me not. A second time I shouted — and 
now he heard me, for now he raised his head. 

Here, then, all had been done that, by me, could bo 

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done : more on my part was not possible. Mine had 
been the first step ; the second was for the young 
man ; the third was for God. If, said I, this stranger 
is a brave man, and if, indeed, he loves the young girl 
at his side — or, loving her not, if he feels the obliga- 
tion, pressing upon every man worthy to be called a 
man, of doing his utmost for a woman confided to his 
protection — he will, at least, make some effort to 
save her. If th(U fails, he will not perish the more, or 
by a death more cruel, for having made it ; and he will 
die as a brave man should, with his face to the dan- 
ger, and with his arm about the woman that he sought 
in vain to save. But, if he makes no effort, shrinking, 
without a struggle, from his duty, he himself will not 
the less certainly perish for this baseness of poltroon- 
erj. lie will die no less : and why not ? Wherefore 
should we grieve that there is one craven less in the 
world ? No ; let him perish, without a pitying thought 
of ours wasted upon him ; and, in that case, all our 
gfrief will be reserved for the fate of the helpless g^l 
who now^ upon the least shadow of failure in him, 
must, by the fiercest of translations — must, without 
time for a prayer — must, within seventy seconds, 
stand before the judgment-seat of God. 

But craven he was not : sudden had been the call 
upon him, and sudden was his answer to the call. 
He saw, he heard, he comprehended, the ruin that 
was coming down : already its gloomy shadow dark- 
ened above him ; and already he was measuring his 
strength to deal with it. Ah ! what a vulgar thing 
does courage seem, when we see nations buying it and 
selling it for a shilling a-day : ah ! what a sublime 
thing does courage seem, when some fearful summons 

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on the great deeps of life carries a man, as if running 
before a hurricane, up to the giddy crest of some 
tumultuous crisis, from which lie two courses, and a 
voice says to him audibly, * One way lies hope ; take 
the other, and mourn for ever ! ' How grand a 
triumph, if, even then, amidst the raving of all around 
him, and the frenzy of the danger, the man is able 
to confront his situation — is able to retire for a 
moment into solitude with God, and to seek his 
coimsel from him I 

For seven seconds, it might be, of his seventy, tha 
stranger settled his countenance steadfastly upon us, 
as if to search and value every element in the conflict 
before him. For five seconds more of his seventy ha 
sat immovably, like one that mused on some great 
purpose. For five more, perhaps, he sat with eyes 
upraised, like one that prayed in sorrow, under soma 
extremity of doubt, for light that should guide him to 
the better choice. Then suddenly he rose ; stood 
upright; and by a powerful strain upon the reins, 
raising his horse's fore-feet from the ground, he 
slewed him round on the pivot of his hind-legs, so 
as to plant the little equipage in a position nearly at 
right angles to ours. Thus far his condition was not 
improved, except as a first step had been taken to- 
wards the possibility of a second. If no more were 
done, nothing was done ; for the little carriage still 
occupied the very centre of our path, though in an 
altered direction. Yet even now it may not be too 
late : fifteen of the seventy seconds may still be unex- 
hausted ; and one almighty bound may avail to clear 
the ground. Hurry, then, hurry ! for the flying mo- 
ments — they hurry! Oh, hurry, hurry, my brave 

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young man ! for the cruel hoofs of our horses — they 
also hurry ! Fast are the flying moments, faster are the 
hoofs of our horses. But fear not for Aim, if human 
energy can suffice ; faithful was he that drove to his 
terrific duty ; faithful was the horse to his command. 
One blow, one impulse given with voice and hand, 
•by the stranger, one rush from the horse, one bound 
as if in the act of rising to a fence, landed the docile 
creature's fore-feet upon the crown or arching centre 
of the road. The larger half of the little equipage 
had then cleared our overtowering shadow : that was 
evident even to my own agitated sight. But it mat- 
tered little that one wreck should float off in safety, 
if upon the wreck that perished were embarked the 
human freightage. The rear part of the carriage — 
was that certainly beyond the line of absolute ruin ? 
What power could answer the question ? Glance of 
eye, thought of man, wing of angel, which of these 
had speed enough to sweep between the question and 
the answer, and divide the one from the other? 
Light does not tread upon the steps of light more 
indivisibly, than did our all-conquering arrival upon 
the escaping efforts of the gig. That must the young 
man have felt too plainly. His back was now turned 
to us ; not by sight could he any longer communicate 
with the peril; but by the dreadful rattle of our 
harness, too truly had his ear been instructed — that 
all was finished as regarded any further effort of his. 
Already in resignation he had rested from his struggle ; 
and perhaps in his heart he was whispering, ' Father, 
which art in heaven, do thou finish above what I on 
earth have attempted.' Faster than ever mill-race we 
ran past them in our inexorable flight. Oh, raving of 

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hurricanes that must have sounded in their young eara 
at the moment of our transit ! Even in tiiat moment 
the thunder of collision spoke aloud. Either with the 
swingle-bar, or with the haunch of our near leader, we 
had struck the off-wheel of the little gig, which stood 
rather obliquely, and not quite so far advanced, as to 
be accurately parallel with the near- wheel. The blow, 
from the fury of our passage, resounded terrifically. 
I rose in horror, to gaze upon the ruins we might have 
caused. From my elevated station I looked down, 
and looked back upon the scene, which in a moment 
told its own tale, and wrote all its records on my heart 
for ever. 

Here was the map of the passion that now had 
finished. The horse was planted immovably, with his 
fore-feet upon the paved crest of the central road. 
He of the whole party might be supposed untouched 
by the passion of death. The little cany carriage — 
partly, perhaps, from the violent torsion of the wheels 
in its recent movement, partly from the thundering 
'blow we had given to it — as if it sympathized with 
human horror, was all alive with tremblings and shiv- 
erings. The young' man trembled not, nor. shivered. 
He sat like a rock. But his was the steadiness of 
agitation frozen into rest by horror. As yet he dared 
not to look round ; for ho knew that, if anythixig 
remained to do, by him it could no longer be done. 
And as yet he knew not for certain if their si^ety 
were accomplished. But the lady 

But the lady ! Oh, heavens ! will that spectacle 

ever depart from my dreams, as she rose and sank 
upon her seat, sank and rose^ threw up her arms wildly 
to.hearen, clutched at some visioBai^ ol^qt ia the aii^ 

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THS Tisioir or subdsn death. 179 

fainting, praying, raving, despairing ? Figure to your^ 
self, reader, tlie elements of tlie case ; suffer me to 
recall before your mind the circumstances of that 
unparalleled situation. From the silence and deep 
peace of this saintly summer night — from the pa- 
thetic blending of this sweet moonlight, dawnlight, 
dreamlight — from the manly tendamese of this flat- 
tering, whispering, murmuring love — suddenly as 
from the woods and fields — suddenly as from the 
chambers of the air opening in revelation — suddenly 
as from the ground yawning at her feet, leaped upon 
her, with the flashing of cataracts. Death the crowned 
phantom, with all the equipage of his terrors, and the 
tiger roar of his voice. 

The moments were numbered; the strife was fin- 
ished ; the vision was closed. In the twinkling of an 
eye, our flying hordes had carried us to the termina- 
tion of the umbrageous aisle ; at right angles we 
wheeled into our former direction ; the turn of the 
road carried the scene out of my eyes in an instant, 
and swept it into my dreams for ever. 

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* Whence the sound 
Of instroments, that made melodious ohime» 
Was heard, of harp and organ ; and who moved 
Their stops and chords, was seen ; his Yolant touch 
Instinct through all proportions, low and high. 
Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue.* 

Par, Logt, B. xL 


Passion of sudden death ! that once in youtli I read 
and interpreted by the shadows of thy averted signs ! ^ 

— rapture of panic taking the shape (which amongst 
tombs in churches I have seen) of woman bursting 
her sepulchral bonds — of woman's Ionic form bend- 
ing from the ruins of her grave with arching foot, with 
eyes upraised, with clasped adoring hands — waiting, 
watching, trembling, praying for the trumpet's call to 
rise from dust for ever ! Ah, vision too fearful of 
shuddering humanity on the brink of almighty abysses I 

— vision that didst start back, that didst reel away, 
like a shrivelling scroll from before the wrath of fire 
racing on the wings of the wind ! Epilepsy so brief * 
of horror, wherefore is it that thou canst not die ? 
Passing so suddenly into darkness, wherefore is it that 
still thou sheddest thy sad funeral blights upon the 
gorgeous mosaics of dreams ? Fragment of music too 

[180] . 

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passionate, Heard once, and heard no more, what aileth 
thee, that thj deep rolling chords come up at intervals 
throug^h all the worlds of sleep, and after forty years, 
have lost no element of horror ? 


Lo, it is sunmier — almighty summer ! The ever- 
lasting gates of life and summer are thrown open wide ; 
and on the ocean, tranquil and verdant as a savannah, 
the unknown lady from the dreadful vision and I my- 
self are floating — she upon a fiery pinnace, and I upon 
an English three-decker. Both of us are wooing gales 
of festal happiness within the domain of our common 
country, within that ancient watery park, within that 
pathless chase of ocean, where England takes her 
pleasure as a huntress through winter and summer, 
&om the rising to the setting sun. Ah, what a wilder- 
ness of floral beauty was hidden, or was suddenly re- 
vealed, upon th^ tropic islands through which the 
pinnace moved ! And upon her deck what a bevy of 
human flowers — young women how lovely, yoimg 
men how noble, that were dancing together, and 
slowly drifting towards us amidst music and incense, 
amidst blossoms 4^om forests and gorgeous corymbi 
from vintages, amidst natural carolling and the echoes 
of sweet girlish laughter. Slowly the pinnace nears 
us, gaily she hails us, and silently she disappears be- 
neath the shadow of our mighty bows. But then, as 
at some signal from heaven, the music, and the carols, 
and the sweet echoing of girlish laughter -^ all are 
hushed. What evil has smitten the pinnace, meeting 
or overtaking her? Did ruin to our friends couch 
within our own dreadful shadow ? Was our shaduw 

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tbe idiadow of death ? I looked over the bow for aa 
answer, and, behold ! the pinnace was (Usmantled ; 
the revel and the revellers were found no more ; the 
glory of the vintage was dust ; and the forests with 
their beauty were left without a witness upon the 
seas. * But where,' and I turned to our crew — 
'where are the lovely women that danced beneath 
the awning of flowers and clustering corymb! ! Whither 
have fled the noble young men that danced with 
them 7 ' Answer there was none. But suddenly the 
man at the masthead, whose countenance darkened 
with alarm, cried out, * Sail on the weather beam i 
Down she comes upon us : in sev^ity seconds she 
also will founder.' 


I looked to the weather side, and the summer had 
departed. The sea was rocking, and shaken with 
^thering wrath. . Upon its surface sat mighty mists, 
which grouped themselves into arches and long cathe- 
dral aisles. Down one of these, with the fiery pace of 
a quarrel from a cross-bow, ran a frigate right athwart 
our course. * Are they mad } ' some voice exclaimed 
from our deck. ' Do they woo thdr ruin ? ' But in 
a moment, she was close upon us, some impulse of a 
heady current or local vortex gave a wheeling bias to 
her course, and oS she forged without a shock. A» 
she ran past us, hi^ aloft amongst the shrouds stood 
tbe lady of the pinnace. The deeps opeiied ahead in 
malice to receive her, towering surges of foam ran aftor 
her, the Inllows were fierce to catch her. But fiu: 
away she was borne into desert spaces of the sea-: 
whilst BtiH by sig^t I followed her as she ra& bofiani^ 

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2>SSAM-PXf0VS. 1S8 

the howling gale, aliased by angry sea-birds and by 
maddening billows ; still I saw her, as at the moment 
when she ran past us, standing amongst the shrouds, 
with her white draperies streaming before the wind. 
There she stood, with hair dishevelled, one hand 
clutched amongst the tackling — rising, sinking, flut- 
tering, trembling, praying — there for leagues I saw 
her as she stood, raising at intervals one hand to 
heaven, amidst the fiery crests of the pursuing waves 
and the raving of the storm ; until at last, upon a 
sound from afar of malicious laughter and mockery, all 
was hidden for ever in driving .showers ; and after- 
wards, but when I know not, nor how. 


Sweet funeral bells from some incalculable distance, 
wailing over the dead that die before the dawn, awak- 
ened me as I slept in a boat moored to some &miliar 
shore. The morning twilight even then was breaking ; 
and, by the dusky revelations which it spread, I saw a 
girl, adorned with a garland of white roses about her 
head for some great festival, running along the solitary 
strand in extremity of haste. Her running was the 
rimning of panic ; and often she looked back as to 
some dreadful enemy in the rear. But when I leaped 
ashore, and followed on her steps to warn her of a peril 
in front, alas ! from me she fled as from another peril, 
and vainly I shouted to her of quicksands that lay 
ahead. Faster and faster she ran ; round a promon- 
tory of rocks she wheeled out of sight ; in an instant I 
also wheeled round it, but only to see the treacherous 
sands gatiiering above her head. Already her p&tson 
was bimed ; only the Mr young head atid &» diadeok 

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of white roses around it were still visible to the pity« 
ing heavens : and, last of all, was visible one white 
marble arm. I saw by the early twilight this fair 
young head, as it was sinking down to darkness — saw 
this marble arm, as it rose above her head and her 
treacherous grave, tossing, fiEiltering, rising, clutching 
as at some false deceiving hand stretched out from the 
clouds — saw this marble arm uttering her dying hope, 
and then uttering her dying despair. The head, the 
diadem, the arm — these all had sunk; at last over 
these also the cruel quicksand had closed; and no 
memorial of the fair young girl remained on earth, 
except my own solitary tears, and the funeral bells 
from the desert seas, that, rising again more sofUy, 
sang a requiem over the grave of the buried child, and 
over her blighted dawn. 

I sat, and wept in secret the tears that men have 
ever given to the memory of those that died before 
the dawn, and by the treachery of earth, our mother. 
But suddenly the tears and funeral bells were hushed 
by a shout as of many nations, and by a roar as from 
some great king's artillery, advancing rapidly along 
the valleys, and heard afar by echoes from the moun- 
tains. • Hush ! ' I said, as I bent my ear earthwards 
to listen — ' nush ! — this either is the very anarchy 
of strife, or eise ' — and then I listened more pro- 
foundly, and whispered as I raised my head — *or 
else, oh heavens ! it is victory that is final, victory that 
swallows up all strife.' 


Immediately, in trance, I was carried over land and 
■ea to some distant kingdom, and placed upon a tri- 

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umphal car, amongst companions crowned witb laurel. 
The darkness of gathering midnight, brooding over all 
the land, hid from us the mighty crowds that were 
weaving restlessly about ourselves as a centre : we 
heard them, but saw them not. Tidings had arrived, 
within an hour, of a grandeur that measured itself 
against centuries ; too full of pathos they were, too 
full of joy, to utter themselves by other language than 
by tears, by restless anthems, and Te Beams reverbe- 
rated from the choirs and orchestras of earth. These 
tidings we that sat upon the laurelled car had it for 
our privilege to publish amongst all nations. And 
already, by signs audible through the darkness, by 
snortings and tramplings, our angry horses, that knew 
no fear of fleshy weariness, upbraided us with delay. 
Wherefore was it that we delayed ? We waited for a 
secret word that should bear witness to the hope of 
nations, as now accomplished for ever. At midnight 
the secret word arrived ; which word was — Waterloo 
and Recovered Christendom ! The dreadful word 
shone by its own light ; before us it went ; high above 
our leaders' heads it rode, and spread a golden light 
over the paths which we traversed. Every city, at the 
presence of the. secret word, threw open its gates. The 
rivers were conscious as we crossed. All the forests, 
as we ran along their margins, shivered in homage to 
the secret word. And the darkness comprehended it. 

Two hours after midnight we approached a mighty 
Minster. Its gates, which rose to the clouds, were 
closed. But when the dreadful word, that rode before 
us, reached them with its golden light,^ silently they 
moved back upon their hinges ; and at a flying gallop 
our equipage entered the grand aisle of the cathedral. 

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Headlong was our pace ; and at every altar, in the 
little chapels and oratories to the right hand and left 
of our course, the lamps, dying or sickening, kindled 
anew in sympathy with the secret word that was fly- 
ing past. Forty leagues we might have run in tho 
cathedral, and as yet no strength of morning light had 
reached us, when before us we saw the aerial galleries 
of organ and choir. Every pinnacle of the fretwork, 
every station of advantage amongst the traceries, was 
crested by white-robed choristers, that sang deliver- 
ance ; that wept no more tears, as once their fetthers 
had wept ; but at intervals that sang together to the 
generations, saying, 

* Chiuit the deliveier's praise in every tongue^* 
and receiving answers from afar, 

* Such as onoe in heaven and earth were song.' 

And of their chanting was no end ; of our headlong 
pace was neither pause nor slackening. 

Thus, as we ran like torrents — thus, as we swept 
with bridal rapture over the Campo Santo ^ of the 
cathedral graves — suddenly we became aware of a 
vast necropolis rising upon the fer-off horizon-— a city 
of sepulchres^ built within ^e saintly cathedral for the 
warrior dead that rested from their feuds on earth. 
Of purple granite was the necropolis ; yet, in the first 
minute, it lay like a purple stain upon the horizon, so 
mighty was the distance. In the second minute it 
trembled through many changes, growing into terraces 
and towers of wondrous al^tude, so mighty was the 
pace. In the third minute already, with our dreadful 
gallop, we were entering its suburbs. Vast sarcophagi 
rose on every side, having towers and turrets that» 
upon the limits of the central aisle, strode forward 

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with haughty intrusion, that ran back with mighty 
shadows into answering recesses. Every scarcophagus 
showed many bas-reliefs — bas-reliefs of battles and 
of battle-fields; battles from forgotten ages — battles 
from yesterday — battle-fields that, long since, nature 
had healed and reconciled to herself with the sweet 
oblivion of flowers — battle-fields that were yet angry 
and crimson mth carnage. Where the terraces ran, 
there did we run ; where the towers curved, there did 
106 curve. With the flight of swallows our horses 
swept round every angle. Like rivers in flood, wheel- 
ing round headlands ; — lik^ hurricanes that ride into 
the secrets of forests — faster than ever light unwove 
thex mazes of darkness, our flying equipage carried 
earthly passions, kindled warrior instincts, amongst 
the dust that lay around us — dust oftentimes of our 
noble fethers that had slept in God from Creci to Tra- 
falgar. And now had we reached the last sarcophagus, 
now were we abreast of the last bas-relief, already had 
we recovered the arrow-like flight of the illimitable 
central aisle, when coming up this aisle to meet us we 
beheld afar ofl* a female child, that rode in a carriage 
as fraU as flowers. The mists, which went before her, 
bid the fawns that drew her, but could not hide the 
shells and tropic flowers with which she played — but 
could not hide the lovely smiles by which she uttered 
her trust in the mighty cathedral, and in the cherubim 
that looked down upon her from the mighty shafts of 
its pillars. Face to face she was meeting us ; face to 
face she rode, as if danger there were none. ' Oh, 
baby ! * I exclaimed, ' shalt thou be the ransom for 
Waterloo ? Must we, that carry tidings of great joy 
to every people, be messengers of ruin to thee I ' In 

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horror I rose at the thought ; hut then also, in horror 
at the thought, rose one that was sculptured on a bas- 
relief — a D3ring Trumpeter. Solemnly from the field 
of battle he rose to his feet ; and, unslinging his stony 
trumpet, carried it, in his dying anguish, to his stony 
lips — sounding once, and yet once again ; proclama- 
tion that, in thy ears, oh baby I spoke from the battle- 
ments of death. Immediately deep shadows fell 
between us, and aboriginal silence. The choir had 
ceased to sing. The hoofs of our horses, the dreadful 
rattle of our harness, the groaning of our wheels, 
alarmed the graves no more^ By horror the bas-relief 
had been unlocked into life. By horror we, that were 
so full of life, we men and our horses, with their fiery 
fore-legs rising in mid air to their everlasting gallop, 
were frozen to a bas-relief. Then a third time the 
trumpet sounded ; the seals were taken off all pulses ; 
life, and the frenzy of life, tore into their channels 
again ; again the choir burst forth in sunny grandeur, 
as from the muffling of storms and darkness; again 
the thunderings of our horses carried temptation into 
the graves. One cry burst from our lips, as the clouds, 
drawing off from the aisle, showed it empty before us 
— ' Whither has the infant fled ? — is the young child 
caught up to God ? ' Lo ! afar off, in a vast recess, 
rose three mighty windows to the clouds ; and on a 
level with their summits, at height insuperable to maii, 
rose an altar of purest alabaster. On its eastern face 
was trembling a crimson glory. A glory was it from 
the reddening dawn that now streamed through the 
windows ? Was it from the crimson robes of the 
martyrs painted on the windows? Was it from the 
bloody bas-reliefs of earth? .There, suddenly, within 

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that crimson radiance, rose the apparition of a woman's 
head, and then of a woman's figure. The child it was 
— grown up to woman's height. Clinging to the 
horns of the altar, voiceless she stood — sinking, ris- 
ing, raving, despairing ; and behind the volume of in- 
cense, that, night and day, streamed upwards from the 
altar, dimly was seen the fiery font, and the shadow 
of that dreadful being who should have baptized her 
with the baptism of death. But by her side was 
kneeling her better angel, that hid his face with wings ; 
that wept and pleaded for her ; that prayed when she 
could not ; that fought with Heaven by tears for her 
deliverance; which also, as he raised his immortal 
coimtenance from his wings, I saw, by the glory in his 
eye, that from Heaven he had won at last. 

Then was completed the passion of the mighty 
fugue. The golden tubes of the organ, which as yet had 
but muttered at intervals — gleaming amongst clouds 
and surges of incense — threw up, as from fountains 
imfathomable, columns of heart-shattering music. 
Choir and anti-choir were filling fast with unknown 
voices. Thou also, Dying Trimipeter! — with thy 
love that was victorious, and thy anguish that was 
finishing — didst enter the tumult ; trumpet and echo 
— farewell love, and farewell anguish — rang through 
the dreadful sanctus. Oh, darkness of the grave! 
that from the crimson altar and from the fiery font 
wert visited and searched by the effulgence in the 
angel's eye — were these indeed thy children ? Pomps 
of life, that, from the burials of centuries, rose again 
to the voice of perfect joy, did ye indeed mingle with 

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the festivals of Death ? Lo ! as I looked back for 
seventy leagues through the mighty cathedral, I saw 
the quick and the dead that sang together to God, 
together that sang to the generations of man. All 
the hosts of jubilation, like armies that ride in pur- 
suit, moved with one step. Us, that, with laurelled 
heads, were passing from the cathedral, they overtook, 
and, as with a garment, they wrapped us round with 
thunders greater than our own. As brothers we moved 
together; to the dawn that advanced — to the stars 
that fled; rendering thanks to God in the highest — 
that, having hid his face through one generation be- 
hind thick clouds of War, once again was ascending — 
from the Campo Santo of Waterloo was ascending — 
in the visions of Peace; rendering thanks for thee, 
young girl ! whom, having overshadowed with his in- 
effable passion of death, suddenly did God relent ; 
suffered thy angel to turn aside his arm ; and even in 
thee, sister unknown ! shown to me for a nuHnent only 
to be hidden for ever, found an occasion to glorify his 
goodness. A thousand times, amongst the phantoms 
of sleep, have I seen thee entering the gates of the 
golden dawn — with the secret word riding before 
thee — with the armies of the grave behind thee: 
seen thee sinking, rising, raving, despairing ; a thou- 
sand times in the worlds of sleep have seen thee fol- 
lowed by God's angel through storms ; through desert 
seas; through the darkness of quicksands; through 
dreams, and the dreadful revelations that are in dreams 
— only that at the last, with one sling of hiis victorious 
arm, he might snatch thee back from ruin, and might 
emblazon in thy deliverance the endless resurrections 
oi his love ! 

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Nonl. Page 126. 
Lady Madeline Gordon. 

Note 2. Page 126. 
' The tanu thing : ' — Thus, in the calendar of the Church Fes- 
tiTals, the diaooYery of the true cross (by Helen, the mother of 
Constantine) is recorded Tand one might think — with the ex- 
press conscioasness of sarcasm) as the Invention of the Cross. 

Note 8. Page 126. 

* Vaet distaneee : ' — One case was fiuniliar to mail-coach trar- 
•llers, where two mails in opposite directions, north and south, 
•tarting at the same minute from points six hundred miles apart, 
met almost constantly at a particular bridge which bisected the 
total distance. 

NoTB 4. Page 129. 
De non apportfitibut, S^e, 

Note 6. Page 129. 

* Snobe,* and its antithesis, * note,* arose among the internal 
Actions of shoemakers perhaps ten years later. Possibly enough, 
the terms may haye existed mueh earlier; but they were then 
first made known, picturesquely and effectively, by a trial at 
some assizes which haj^^ened to fix the public attention. 

Noix6. Page 184. 
' Von TroiVe Iceland : * — The allusion to a well-known chap- 
ter in Von Troil'« w<»rk, entitled, < Concerning the Snakes <tf 


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192 KOTBS. 

Iceland.' The entire chapter oonsists of these six words — * JTier€ 
are no snakes in Iceland.* 

NoTB 7. Page 184. 
* Forbidden seat: ' — The very 'sternest code of rules was en- 
forced upon the mails by the Post-office. Throughout England, 
only three outsides were allowed, of whom one was to sit on the 
box, and the other two immediately behind the box; none, under 
any pretext, to come near the guard; an indispensable caution; 
since else, under the guise of passenger, a robber might by any 
one of a thousand advantages — which sometimes are created, but 
always are favored, by the animation of frank, social intercourse 
— have disarmed the guard. Beyond the Scottish border, the 
regulation was so far relaxed as to allow of four outsides, but not 
relaxed at all as to the mode of placing them. One, as before, 
was seated on the box, and the other three on the front of the 
roof, with a determinate and ample separation from the little 
insulated chair of the guard. This relaxation was conceded by 
way of compensating to Scotland her disadvantages in point of 
population. England, by the superior density of her popula- 
tion, might always count upon a large fUnd of profits in. the frac- 
tional trips of chance passengers riding for short distances of two 
or three stages. In Scotland, this chance xsounted for much less. 
And therefore, to make good the deficiency, Scotland was allowed 
a compensatory profit upon one extra passenger. 

Note 8. Page 136. 
« False echoes : ' — Yes, fiJse! for the words ascribed to Napo- 
leon, as breathed to the memory of Desaix, never were uttered at 
all They stand in the same category of theatrical fictions as the 
cry of the foundering line-of-battle ship Vengeur, as the vaunt 
of General Cambronne at Waterloo, ' La Garde meurt, mais n9 
u rend pas,* or as the repartees of Talleyrand. 

NoTB 9. Page 142 

« Wore the royal livery : * — The general impression was, that 

the royal livery belonged of right to the mail-coachmen as their 

professional dress. But that was an error. To the guard it did 

bebng, I believe, and was obviously essential as an official war« 

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NOTES. 193 

rant, and as a means of instant identification for his person, in 
the discharge of his important public duties. But the coachman, 
and especially if his place in the series did not connect him im- 
mediately with London and the General Post-office, obtained the 
scarlet coat only as an honorary distinction after long (or, if not 
long, trying and special) seryice 

Note 10. Page 144. 
• ThirreU :* — As one who loves and venerates Chaucer for his 
unrivalled merits of tenderness, of picturesque characterization, 
and of narrative skill, I noticed with great pleasure that the 
word torrettes is used by him to designate the little devices 
through which the reins are made to pass. This same word, in 
the same exact sense, I heard uniformly used by many scores of 
illustrious mail-coachmen, to whose confidential friendship I had 
the honor of being admitted in my younger days. 

Note 11. Page 146. / 
' Mr, Waierton : * — Had the reader lived through the last 
generation, he would not need to be told that some thirty or 
thirty-five yeurs back, Mr. Waterton, a distinguished country gen- 
tleman of ancient family in Northumberland, publicly mounted 
and rode in top-boots a savage old crocodile, that was restive and 
yery impertinent, but all to no purpose The crocodile jibbed 
and tried to kick, but vainly. He was no more able to throw the 
squire, than Smbad was to throw the old scoundrel who used his 
back without paying for it, until he discovered a mode (slightly 
immoral, perhaps, though some think not) of murdering the old 
firaudulent jockey, and so circuitously of unhorsing him. 

Note 12. Page 146. 
< Housekoldt : * — Roe-deer do not congregate in herds like the 
&llow or the red deer, but by separate families, parents and 
children; which feature of approximation to the sanctity of 
human hearths, added to their comparatively miniature and 
graceful proportions, conciliate to them an interest of peculiar 
tenderness, supposing even that this beautiftil creature is less 
characteristically impressed with the grandeurs of savage and 
Ibrest life. 


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194 NOTES. 

Note 18. Page 148. 

* Audacity : * — Such the French accounted it; and it has 
struck me that Soult would not have been so popular in London, 
at the period of her present Majesty's coronation, or in Man- 
chester, on occasion of his visit to that town, if they had been 
aware of the insolence with which he spoke of us in notes written 
at intervals fi^m the field of Waterloo. As though it had been 
mere felony in our army to look a French one in the face, he said 
in more notes than one, dated from two to four p. h., on the field 
of Waterloo, * Here are the English — we have them; they are 
caught en flagrant delit.' Yet no man should have known ua 
better; no man had drunk deeper from the cup of humiliation 
than Soult had in 1809, when ejected by us with headlong vio- 
lence from Oporto, and pursued through a long line of wrecks to 
the frontier of Spain; subsequently at Albuera, in the bloodiest 
of recorded battles, to say nothing of Toulouse, he should have 
learned our pretensions. 

Note 14. Page 148. 

* JU that time : * — I speak of the era previous to Waterloo. 

Note 15. Page 160. 

* Three hundred ; ' — Of necessity, this scale of measurement* 
to an American, if he happens to be a thoughtless man, must 
sound ludicrous. Accordingly, I remember a case in which an 
American writer indulges himself in the luxury of a little fibbing, 
by ascribing to an Englishman a pompous account of the Thames, 
constructed entirely upon American ideas of grandeur, and con- 
cluding in something like these terms : — * And, sir, arriving at 
London, this mighty father of rivers attains a breadth of at least 
two furlongs, having, in its winding course, traversed the aston- 
ishing distance of one hundred and seventy miles.' And this the 
candid American thinks it fair to contrast with the scale of the 
Mississippi. Now, it is hardly worth while to answer a pure 
fiction gravely, else one might say that no Englishman out of 
Bedlam ever thought of looking in an island for the rivers of a 
continent; jior, consequently could have thought of looking for 
the peculiar grandeur of the Thames in the length of its course. 

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NOTES. 195 

or in the extent of soU which it drains; yet, if he had been so 
absurd, the American might have recollected that a riyer, not to 
be compared with the Thames even as to volume of water — viz., 
the Tiber — has contrived to make itself heard of in this world 
for twenty-five centuries to an extent not reached as yet by any 
river, however corpulent, of his own land. The glory of the 
Thames is measured by the destiny of the population to which it 
qunisters, by the commerce which it supports, by the grandeur 
of the empire in which, though far from the largest, it is the most 
influential stream. Upon some such scale, and not by a transfer 
of Columbian standards, is the course of our English mails to be 
yalued. The American may fancy the effect of his own valua- 
tions to our English ears, by supposing the case of a Siberian 
glorifying his country in these terms : — * These wretches, sir, in 
France and England, cannot march half a mile in any direction 
without finding a house where food can be had and lodging; 
whereas, such is the noble desolation of our magnificent country, 
that in many a direction for a thousand miles, I will engage that 
a dog shall not find shelter from a snow-storm, nor a wren find 
an apology for breakfast.' 

NoTB 16. Page 154. 

* Glittering laurels : ' — I must observe, that the color of 
green suffers almost a spiritual change and exaltation under the 
efifect of Bengal lights. 

NoTB 17. Page 167. 

* Confluent: ' — Suppose a capital Y (the Pythagorean letter) : 
Lancaster is at the foot of this letter; Liverpool at the top of the 
right branch; Manchester at the top of the left; proud Preston 
at the centre, where the two branches unite. It is thirty-three 
miles along either of the two branches; it is twenty-two miles 
along the stem — viz., from Preston in the middle, to Lancaster 
at the root. There's a lesson in geography for the reader. 

NoTB 18. Page 168. 

* Twice in the year : ' — There were at that time only two as- 
mzes even in the most populous counties — viz., the Lent Assizes, 
and the Summer Assizes. 

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196 NOTES. 

Note 19. Page 169. 
*8igh^orn:* — I owe the suggestion of this word to aa 
obscure remembrance of a beautiful phrase in * Giraldus Cam- 
brensis ' — yiz., sttspiriostt cogitationes. 

NoTB 20. Page 172. 
It is true that, according to the law of the ease as established 
by legal precedents, all carriages were required to give way be- 
fore Royal equipages, and therefore before the mail as one of 
them. But this only increased the danger, as being a regulation 
yery imperfectly made known, very unequally enforced, and 
therefore often embarrassing the movements on both sides. 

NoTB 21. Page 172. 

* Qaarttring : * — This is the technical word, and, I pre- 
Buine, derived from the French cartayer, to evade a rut or anj 

Note 22. Page 180. 
' Averted signt : * — I read the course and changes of the lady*a 
agony in the succession of her involuntary gestures ; but it must 
be remembered that I read all this ftrom the rear, never once 
catching the lady's Aill face, and even her profile imperfectly. 

Note 28. Page 186. 

* Campo Santo : * — It is probable that most of my readers 
will be acquainted with the history of the Campo Santo (or cem- 
etery) at Pisa, composed of earth brought from Jerusalem for a 
bed of sanctity, as the highest prize which the noble piety of 
crusaders could ask or imagine. To readers who are unac- 
quainted with England, or who ^( being English) are yet unao- 
quainted with the cathedral cities of England, it may be right to 
mention that the graves within-side the cathedrals often form a 
flat pavement over which carriages and horses might run ; and 
perhaps a boyish remembrance of one particular cathedral, 
across which I had seen passengers walk and burdens carried, as 
about two centuries back they were through the nuddle of St» 
Paul's in London, may have assisted my dream. 

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Great misconceptions have always prevailed about 
the Roman dinner. Dinner \_c(Bna] was the only meal 
which the Romans as a nation took. It was no acci- 
dent, but arose out of their whole social economy. 
This I shall endeavor to show, by running through the 
history of a Roman day. Ridentem dicere verum quid 
vetat 7 And the course of this review will expose one 
or two important truths in ancient political economy, 
which have been too much overlooked. 

With the lark it was that the Roman rose. Not 
that the earliest lark rises so early in Latium as the 
earliest lark in England ; that, is, during summer : but 
then, on the other hand, neither does it ever rise so 
late. The Roman citizen was stirring with the dawn 
— which, allowing for the shorter longest-day and 
longer shortest-day of Rome, you may call about four 
in simimer — about seven in winter. Why did he do 
this ? Because he went to bed at a very early hour. 
But why did he do that ? By backing in this way, 
we shall surely back into the very well of truth : al- 
ways, where it is possible, let us have the pourquoi of 
the pourquoi. The Roman went to bed early for two 
remarkable reasons. 1st, Because in Rome, built for 
a martial destiny, every habit of life had reference to 


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the usages of war. Every citizen, if he were not a 
mere proletarian animal kept at the public cost, with a 
view to his proles or offspring, held himself a soldier- 
elect : the more noble he was, the more was his lia- 
bility to military service ; in short, all Rome, and at 
all times, was consciously * in procinct.' ^ Now it was 
a principle of ancient warfare, that every hour of day- 
light had a triple worth, as valued against hours of 
darkness. That was one reason — a reason suggested 
by the understanding. But there was a second reason, 
far more remarkable ; and this was a reason suggested 
by a blind necessity. It is an important fact, that this 
planet on which we live, this little industrious earth of 
ours, has developed her wealth by slow stages of in- 
crease. She was far from being the rich little globe in. 
Caesar's days that she is at present. The earth in our 
days is incalculably richer, as a whole, than in the 
time of Charlemagne ; and at that time she was richer, 
by many a million of acres, than in the era of Augus- 
tus. In that Augustan era we descry a clear belt of 
cultivation, averaging perhaps six hundred miles in 
depth, running in a ring-fence about the Mediterra- 
nean. This belt, and no more, was in decent cultiva- 
tion. Beyond that belt, there was only a wild Indian 
cultivation ; generally not so much. At present, what 
a difference ! We have that very belt, but much rich- 
er, all things considered, cequatis cequandis, than in the 
Roman era and much beside. The reader must not 
look to single cases, as that of Egypt or other parts of 
Africa, but take the whole collectively. On that 
scheme of valuation, we have the old Roman belt, the 
circum Mediterranean girdle not much tarnished, and 
we have all the rest of Europe to boot. Such being 

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the case, the earth, being (as a whole) in that Pagan 
era so incomparably poorer, could not in the Pagan 
era support the expense of maintaining great empires 
in cold latitudes. Her purse would not reach that 
cost. Wherever she undertook in those early ages to 
rear man in great abundance, it must be where nature 
would consent to work in partnership with herself; 
where warmth was to be- had for- nothing ; where 
clothes were not so entirely indispensable, but that a 
ragged fellow might still keep himself warm ; where 
slight shelter might serve ; and where the soil, if not 
absolutely richer in reversionary wealth, was more 
easily cultured. Nature, in those days of infancy, 
must come forward liberally, and take a number of 
shares in every new joint-stock concern before it could 
move. Man, therefore, went to bed early in those 
ages, simply because his worthy mother earth could not 
afford him candles. She, good old lady (or good 
young lady, for geologists know not ^ whether she is 
in that stage of her progress which corresponds to 
gray hairs, or to infancy, or to 'a certain age ') — she, 
good lady, would certainly have shuddered to hear any 
of her nations asking for candles. ' Candles, indeed ! ' 
she would have said, ' who ever heard of such a thing ? 
and with so much excellent daylight running to waste, 
as I have provided gratis ! What will the wretches 
want next ? ' 

The daylight, furnished gratis, was certainly * unde- 
niable ' in its quality, and quite sufficient for all pur- 
poses that were honest. Seneca, even in his own 
luxurious period, called those men ' lucifugcB,^ and by 
other ugly names, who lived chiefly by candle-light. 
Nona but rich and luxurious men, nay, even amongst 

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these, none but idlers, did live or could live by candle^ 
light. An immense majority of men in Rome never 
lighted a candle, unless sometimes in the early dawn. 
And this custom of Eome was the custom also of all 
nations that lived round the great lake of the Mediter- 
ranean. In Athens, Egypt, .Palestine, Asia Minor, 
everywhere, the ancients went to bed, like good boys, 
from seven to nine o'clock.^ The Turks and other 
people, who have succeeded to the stations and the 
habits of the ancients, do so at this day. 

The Roman, therefore, who saw no joke in sitting 
round a table in the dark, went oflf to bed as the dark- 
ness began. Everybody did so. Old Numa Pom- 
pilius himself was obliged to trundle off in the dusk. 
Tarquinius might be a very superb fellow ; but I doubt 
whether he ever saw a farthing rushlight. And, 
though it may be thought that plots and conspiracies 
would flourish in such a city of darkness, it is to be 
considered, that the conspirators themselves had no more 
candles than honest men : both parties were in the dark. 

Being up, then, and stirring not long after the lark, 
what mischief did the Roman go about first ? Now-a- 
days, he would have taken a pipe or a cigar. But, 
alas for the ignorance of the poor heathen creatures ! 
they had neither the one nor the other. In this point, 
I must tax our mother earth with being really too 
stingy. In the case of the candles, I approve of her 
parsimony. Much mischief is brewed by candle- 
light. But it was coming it too strong to allow no 
tobacco. Many a wild fellow in Rome, your Gracchi, 
Syllas, Catilines, would not have played ' h — and 
Tommy* in the way they did, if they could have 
Boothed their angry stomachs with a cigar : a pipe 

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has intercepted many an evil scheme. But the thing 
is past helping now. At Rome, you must do as ' they 
does' at Rome, So, after shaving (supposing the age 
of the Barhati to be past), what is the first business 
that our Roman will undertake ? Forty to one he is a 
poor man, bom to look upwards to his fellow-men — 
and not to look down upon anybody but slaves. He 
goes, therefore, to the palace of some grandee, some 
top-sawyer of the senatorian order. This great man, for 
all his greatness, has turned out even sooner than him- 
self. For he also has had no candles and no cigars ; and 
he well knows, that before the sun looks into his portals, 
all his halls will be overflowing and buzzing with the 
matin susurrus of courtiers — the ' mane salutantes.' ^ 
It is as much as his popularity is worth to absent himself, 
or to keep people waiting. But surely, the reader may 
think, this poor man he might keep waiting. No, he 
might not ; for, though poor, being a citizen, the man 
is a gentleman. That was the consequence of keeping 
slaves. Wherever there is a class of slaves, he that 
enjoys the jus suffragii (no matter how poor) is a gen- 
tleman. The true Latin word for a gentleman is tn- 
genuus — a freeman and the son of a freeman. 

Yet even here there were distinctions. Under the 
emperors, the courtiers were divided into two classes : 
with respect to the superior class, it was said of the 
sovereign — that he saw them (* videbat *) ; with re- 
spect to the other — that he was seen {^ videbatur'). 
Even Plutarch mentions it as a common boast in his 
times, luag •t<J«i' 6 fiaatXtvs — CcBsar is in the habit of see-- 
ing me ; or, as a common plea for evading a suit, 
ix%qBq 6qa fiaXXo'^ — I am soTvy to Say he is more inclined 
to look upon others. And this usage derived itself 

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(mark that well !) from the republican era. The aulic 
spirit was propagated by the empire, but from a repub- 
lican root. 

Having paid his court, you will suppose that our 
friend comes home to breakfast. Not at all : no such 
discovery as ' breakfast ' had then been made : breakfast 
was not invented for many centuries after that. I have 
always admired, and always shall admire, as the very 
best of all human stories, Charles Lamb's account of 
roast-pork, and its traditional origin in China. Ching 
Ping, it seems, had suffered his father's house to be 
burned down : the outhouses were burned along with 
the house : and in one of these the pigs, by accident, 
were roasted to a turn. Memorable were the results 
for. all future China and future civilization. Ping, who 
(like all China beside) had hitherto eaten his pig raw, 
now for the first time tasted it in a state of torrefac- 
tion. Of course he made his peace with his father by 
a part (tradition says a leg) of the new dish. The 
father was so astounded with the discovery, that he 
burned his house down once a-year for the sake of 
coming at an annual banquet of a roast pig. A curi- 
ous prying sor4; of a fellow, one Chang Pang, got to 
know of this. He also burned down a house with a 
pig in it, and had his eyes opened. The secret was 
ill kept — the discovery spread — many great conver- 
sions were made — houses were blazing in every part 
of the Celestial Empire. The insurance offices took 
the matter up. One Chong Pong, detected in the very 
act of shutting up a pig in his drawing-room, and then 
firing a train, was indicted on a charge of arson. 
The chief justice of Pekin, on that occasion, re- 
quested an officer of the court to hand him up a piece 

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of the roast pig, the corpus delicti : pure curiosity it 
^as, liberal curiosity, that led him to taste ; but within 
two days after, it was observed, says Lamb, that his 
lordship's town-house was on fire. In short, all China 
apostatized to the new faith; and it was not until 
some centuries had passed, that a man of prodigious 
genius arose, viz., Chung Pung, who, established the 
second era in the history of roast pig by showing that 
it could be had without burning down a house. 

No such genius had yet arisen in Rome. Breakfast 
was not suspected. No prophecy, no type of break- 
fest, had been published. In fact, it took as much 
time and research to arrive at that great xiiscovery as 
at the Copernican system. ^True it is, reader, that 
you have heard of such a word as jentaculum ; and 
your dictionary translates that old heathen word by 
the Christian word breakfast. But dictionaries are 
didl deceivers. Between jentaculum and breakfast the 
differences are as wide as between a horse-chestnut 
and a chestnut horse ; differences in the time when^ in 
the place where, in the manner how, but pre-eminently 
in the thing which, 

Galen is a good authority upon such a subject, since, 
if (like other Pagans) he ate no breakfast himself, in 
some sense he may be called the cause of breakfast to 
other men, by treating of those things which could 
safely be taken upon an empty stomach. As to the 
time, he (like many other authors) says, tzsqi TQntjv,.tj 
(to ^axQOTBQov) TitQi TtjaQTrjv, about the third, or at far- 
thest about the fourth hour : and so exact is he, that 
he assumes the day to lie exactly between six and six 
o'clock, and to be divided into thirteen equal portions. 
So the time jmll be a few minutes before nine, or a 

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few minutes before ten, in the forenoon. That seems 
fair enough. But it is not time in respect to its location 
that we are concerned with, so much as time in respect 
to its duration. Now, heaps of authorities take it 
for granted, that you are not to sit down — you are to 
stand ; and, as to the place, that any place will do — 
' any comer of the forum,' says Galen, ' any comer 
that you fancy : ' which is like referring a man for hia 
salle d manger to Westminster Hall or Fleet Street. 
Augustus, in a letter still surviving, tells us that he 
jentabat, or took his jentaadum, in his carriage ; some- 
times in a wheel carriage {in essedo), sometimes in a 
litter or palanquin (in lecticd). This careless and dis- 
orderly way as to time and place, and other circum- 
stances of haste, sufficiently indicate the quality of the 
meal you are to expect. Already you are ' sagacious 
of your quarry from so far.* Not that we would pre- 
sume, excellent reader, to liken you to Death, or to 
insinuate that you are a 'grim feature' But would 
it not make a saint ' grim ' to hear of such prepara- 
tions for the morning meal? And then to hear of 
such consummations as pants siccus, dry bread ; or (if 
the leamed reader thinks it will taste better in Greek), 
oQTog ^rjqog ! And what may this word dry happen 
to mean? 'Does it mean stale?' says Salmasius. 
' Shall we suppose,' says he, in querulous words, 
' molli et recenti opponi,' that it is placed in antithesis 
to soft and new bread, what English sailors call ' soft 
tommy 7 ' and from that antithesis conclude it to be, 
' durvan et mm recens coctum, eoque sicciorem 7 * Hard 
and stale, and in that proportion more arid? Not 
quite so bad as that, we hope. Or again — ' siccum 
pro hiscoctOy tU hodie vocamus^ sumemus 7^^ By hodie 

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Salmasius means, amongst liis countrymen of France, 
where biscoctus is verbatim reproduced in the word his 
(twice), cuit (baked) ; whence our own biscuit Bis- 
cuit might do very well, could we be sure that it was 
cabin biscuit ; but Salmasius argues that — in this case 
he takes it to ineBn^ huccellatum, qui est pants nauti- 
cus ; ' that is, the ship company's biscuit, broken with 
a sledge-hammer. In Greek, for the benefit again of 
the learned reader, it is termed dnrvQag, indicating that 
it has passed twice under the action of fire. 

*Well,* you say, 'no matter if it had passed 
through the fires of Moloch; only let us have this 
biscuit, such as it is.' In good faith, then, fasting 
reader, you are not likely to see much more than you 
have seen. It is a very Barmecide feast, we do assure 
you — this same ' jentaculum ; ' at which abstinence 
and patience are much more exercised than the teeth : 
faith and hope are the chief graces cultivated, together 
with that species of the magnificum which is founded 
on the ignotum. Even this biscuit was allowed in the 
most limited quantities ; for which reason it is that 
the Greeks called this apology for a meal by the name 
of /?«xxi<7.M0ff» a word formed (as many words were in 
the Post- Augustan ages) from a Latin word — viz., 
huccea^ a mouthful ; not literally such, but so much as 
a polished man could allow himself to put into his 
mouth at once. *We took a mouthful,' says Sir 
William Waller, the parliamentary general — 'took 
a mouthful ; paid our reckoning ; mounted ; and were 
off.' But there Sir William means, by his plausible 
* mouthful,' something very much beyond either nine 
or nineteen ordinary quantities of that denomination, 
whereas the Roman ' jentaeidum ' was literally such ; 

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and, accordingly, one of the varieties under whicli the 
ancient vocabularies express this model of evanescent 
quantities is gustatio, a mere tasting; and again, it 
is called by another variety gustus, a mere taste 
[whence comes the old French word gouster for a 
refection or luncheon, and then (by the usual suppres- 
sion of the s) gouter]. Speaking of his uncle, Pliny 
the Younger says : * Post solem plerumque lavabatur : 
deinde gustabat ; dormiebat minimum ; mox, quasi 
alio die, studebat in ccenae tempus.' * After taking 
the air, generally speaking, he bathed ; after that he 
broke his fast on a morsel of biscuit, and took a very 
slight sieMa : which done, as if awaking to a new day,, 
he set in regularly to his studies, and pursued them to 
dinner-time/ Gustabat here meant that nondescript 
meal which arose' at Rome when jentaculum and praU" 
dium were fused into one, and that only a taste or 
mouthful of biscuit, as we shall show farther on. 

Possibly, however, most excellent reader, like some 
epicurean traveller, who, in crossing the Alps, finds 
himself weather-bound at St. Bernard's on Ash- Wed- 
nesday, you surmise a remedy : you descry some open- 
ing from ' the loopholes of retreat,' through which a 
few delicacies might be insinuated to spread verdure 
on this arid wilderness of biscuit. Casuistry can do 
much. A dead hand at casuistry has often proved 
more than a match for Lent with all his quarantines. 
But sorry I am to say that, in this case, no relief is 
hinted at in any ancient author. A grape or two (not 
a bunch of grapes), a raisin or two, a date, an olive — 
these are the whole amount of relief^ which the 
chancery of the Eoman kitchen granted in such cases. 
All things here hang together, and prove each other 

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— the time, the place, the mode, the thing. Well 
might man eat standing, or eat in public, such a trifle 
as this. Go home, indeed, to such a breakfast ? You 
would as soon think of ordering a cloth to be laid in 
order to eat a peach, or of asking a friend to join you 
in an orange. No man in his senses makes ' two bites 
of a cherry.* So let us pass on to J;he other stages of 
the day. Only, in taking leave of this morning's 
stage, throw your eyes back with me. Christian reader, 
upon this truly heathen meal, fit for idolatrous dogs 
like your Greeks and your Romans ; survey, through 
the vista of ages, that thrice-accursed biscuit, with 
half a fig, perhaps, by way of garnish, and a huge 
hammer by its side, to secure the certainty of mastica- 
tion, by previous comminution. . Then turn your eyes 
to a Christian breakfast — hot rolls, eggs, coffee, beef; 
but down, down, rebellious visions ; we need say no 
more ! You, reader, like myself, will breathe a male- 
diction on the Classical era, and thank your stars for 
making you a Romanticist. Every morning I thank 
mine for keeping me back from the Augustan age, and 
reserving me to a period in which breakfast had been 
already invented. In the words of Ovid, I say : — 

' Prisca juvent alios : ego me nunc denique natum 
Gratulor. Hsbc setas moribus apta meis.' 

Our friend, the Roman cit, has therefore thus far, in 
his progress through life, obtained no breakfast, if he 
ever contemplated an idea so frantic. But it occurs to 
you, my faithful reader, that perhaps he will not 
always be thus unhappy. I could bring wagon-loads 
of sentiments, Greek as well as Roman, which prove, 
more clearly than the most eminent pikestaff, that, as 

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the wheel of fortune revolves, simply out of the fact 
that it has carried a man downwards, it must subse- 
quently carry him upwards, no matter what dislike 
that wheel, or any of its spokes, may bear to that 
man : ' non si male nunc sit, et olim sic erit : * and 
that if a man, through the madness of his nation, 
misses coffee and hot rolls at nine, he may easily run 
into a leg of mutton at twelve. True it is he may do 
so : truth is commendable ; and I will not deny that a 
man may sometimes, by losing a breakfast, gain a 
dinner. Such things have been in various ages, and 
will be agam, but not at Rome. There were reasons 
against it. We have heard of men who consider life 
under the idea of a wilderness — dry as a ' remainder 
biscuit after a voyage : ' and who consider a day under 
the idea of a little life. Life is the macrocosm, or 
world at .large ; day is the microcosm, or world in min- 
iature. Consequently, if life is A wilderness, then day, 
as a little life, is a little wilderness. And this wilder- 
ness can be safely traversed only by having relays of 
fountains, or stages for refreshment. Such stages, 
they conceive, are found in the several meals which 
Providence has stationed at due intervals through the 
day, whenever the perverseness of man does not break 
the chain, or derange the order of succession. 

These are the anchors by which man rides in that 
billowy ocean between morning and night. The first 
anchor, viz., breakfast, having given way in Rome, the 
more need there is that he shoidd pull up by the 
second ; and that is often reputed to be dinner. And 
as your dictionary, good reader, translated breakfast by 
that vain woid jentaculum^ so doubtless it will translate 
dinner by that still vainer word prandium. Sincerely 

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I hope that your own dinner on this day, and through 
all time coming, may have a better root in fact and 
substance than this most visionary of all hapless things 
— the Roman prandium, of which I shall presently 
show you that the most approved translation is moon" 

Reader, I am anything but jesting here. In the 
very spirit of serious truth, I assure you that the delu- 
sion about ' jentaculum ' is even exceeded by this other 
delusion about 'prandium.' Salmasius himself, for 
whom a natural prejudice of place and time partially 
obscured the truth, admits, however, that prandium 
was a meal which the ancients rarely took ; his very 
words are — ^raro prandehant veteresJ Now, judge 
for yourself of the good sense which is shown in trans- 
lating by the word dinner^ which must of necessity 
mean the chief meal, a Roman word which represents 
a fancy meal, a meal of caprice, a meal which few peo- 
ple took. At this moment, what is the single point of 
agreement between the noon meal of the English la- 
borer and the evening meal of the English gentleman ? 
What is the single circumstance common to both, 
which causes us to denominate them by the common 
name of dinner ? It is, that in both we recognize the 
principal meal of the day, the meal upon which is 
thrown the onus of the day's support. In everything 
else they are as wide asunder as the poles ; but they 
agree in this one point of their function. Is it credible 
now, that, to represent such a meal amongst ourselves, 
we select a Roman word so notoriously expressing a 
mere shadow, a pure^ipology, that very few people ever 
tasted it — nobody sat down to it — not many washed 
their hands after it, and gradually the very name €>£ it 

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became interchangeable with another name, implying 
the slightest possible act of tentative tasting or sip- 
ping ? ' Post lavationem sine mensd prandium^' says 
Seneca, ' post quod non sunt lavandcB manus ; * that is, 
' after bathing, I take a prandium without sitting down 
to table, and such a prandium as brings after itself no 
need of washing the hands.' No ; moonshine as little 
soils the hands as it oppresses the stomach. 

Reader ! I, as well as Pliny, had an uncle, an East 
Indian uncle ; doubtless you have such an uncle ; 
everybody has an Indian uncle. Generally such a 
person is ' rather yellow, rather yellow * (to quote 
Canning versus Lord Durham), that is the chief fault 
with his physics ; but, as to his morals, he is univer- 
sally a man of princely aspirations and habits. He is 
not always so orientally rich as he is reputed ; but he 
is always orientally munificent. Call upon him at any 
hour from two to five, he insists on your taking tiffin : 
and such a tiffin ! The English corresponding term is 
luncheon ; but how meagre a shadow is the European 
meal to its glowing Asiatic cousin ! Still, gloriously as 
tiffin shines, does anybody imagine that it is a vicarious 
dinner, or ever meant to be the substitute and locum 
tenens of dinner? Wait till eight, and you will have 
your eyes opened on that subject. So of the Roman 
prandium : had it been as luxurious as it was simple, 
still it was always viewed as something meant only to 
stay the stomach, «s a prologue to something beyond. 
The prandium was far enough from giving the feeblest 
idea even of the English luncheon ; yet it stood in the 
same relation to the Roman day. Now to English- 
mew that meal Scarcely exists ; and were it not for . 
women, whose delicacy of organization does not allow 

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them to fast so long as men, would probably be abol- 
ished. It is singular in this, as in other points, how 
nearly England and ancient Rome approximate. We 
all know how hard it is to tempt a man generally into 
spoiling his appetite, by eating before dinner. The 
same dislike of violating what they called the integrity 
of the appetite {integram famem)^ existed at Rome. 
Integer means what is intact, unviolated by touch. 
Cicero, when protesting against spoiling his appetite 
for dinner, by tasting anything beforehand, says, inte" 
gram famem ad ccmam afferam ; I intend bringing to 
dinner an appetite untampered with. Nay, so much 
stress did the Romans lay on maintaining this primi- 
tive state of the appetite undisturbed, that any prelu- 
sions with either jentaculum or prandium were said, 
by a very strong phrase indeed, polluere famem, to 
pollute the sanctity of the appetite. The appetite was 
regarded as a holy vestal flame, soaring upwards to- 
wards dinner throughout the day : if undebauched, it 
tended to its natural consummation in ccBua : expiring 
like a phcsnix, to rise again out of its own ashes. On 
this theory, to which language had accommodated 
itself, the two prelusive meals of nine or ten o'clock 
A. M., and of one p. m., so far from being ratified by 
the public sense, and adopted into the economy of the 
day, were regarded gloomily as gross irregularities, 
enormities, debauchers of the natural instinct ; and, in 
89 far as they thwarted that instinct, lessened it, or 
depraved it, were almost uniformly held to be full of 
pollution ; and, finally, •to profane a sacred motion of 
nature. Such was the language. 

But we guess what is passing in the reader's mind. 
He thinks that all this proves the prandium to have 

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been a meal of little account ; and in very many cases 
absolutely unknown. But still be tbinks all tbis 
migbt bappen to tbe Englisb dinner — that also migbt 
be neglected ; supper migbt be generally preferred ; 
and, nevertbeless, dinner would be as truly entitled to 
tbe name of dinner as before. Many a student 
neglects bis dinner ; entbusiasm in any pursuit must 
often bave extinguisbed appetite for all of us. Many 
a time and oft did tbis bappen to Sir Isaac Newton. 
Evidence is on record, tbat sucb a deponent at eigbt 
o'clock A. M. found Sir Isaac witb one stocking on, one 
off; at two, said deponent called bim to dinner. 
Being interrogated wbetber Sir Isaac bad pulled on 
tbe minvs stocking, or gartered tbe plus sJ;ocking, wit- 
ness replied tbat be bad not. Being asked if Sir 
Isaac came to dinner, replied tbat be did not. Being 
again asked, * At sunset, did you look in on Sir 
Isaac?' witness replied, 'I did.' 'And now, upon 
your conscience, sir, by tbe virtue of your oatb, in wbat 
state were tbe stockings ? * Ans. — ' In statu quo ante 
bellum.' It seems Sir Isaac bad fougbt tbrougb tbat 
wbole battle of a long day, so trying a campaign to 
many people — be bad traversed tbat wbole sandy 
Zaarab, witbout calling, or needing to call, at one of 
tbose fountains, stages, or mansiones,'' by wbicb (ac- 
cording to our former explanation) Providence bas re- 
lieved tbe continuity of arid soil, wbicb else disfigures 
tbat long dreary level. Tbis bappens to all ; but was 
dinner not dinner, and did supper become dinner, 
because Sir Isaac Newton ate notbing at tbe filrst, and 
tbrew tbe wbole day's support upon tbe last ? No, 
you will say, a rule is not defeated by one casual 
deviation, nor by one person's constant deviation. 

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Everybody else was still dining at two, though Sir 
Isaac might not ; and Sir Isaac himself on most days 
no more deferred his dinner beyond two, than he sat in 
public with one stocking off. But what if everybody. 
Sir Isaac included, had deferred his substantial meal 
until night, and taken a slight refection only at two ? 
The question put does really represent the very case 
which has happened with us in England. In 1700, a 
large part of London took a meal at two p. m., and 
another at seven or eight p. m. At present, a large 
part of London is still doing the very same thing, tak- 
ing one meal at two, and another at seven or eight. 
But the names are entirely changed: the two o'clock 
meal used to be called dinner, whereas at present it is 
called luncheon ; the seven o'clock meal used to be 
called supper, whereas at present it is called dinner ; 
and in both cases the difference is anything but 
verbal : it expresses a translation of that main meal, 
on which the day'd support rested, from mid-day to 

Upon reviewing the idea of dinner, we soon perceive 
that time has little or no connection with it : since, 
both in England and France, dinner has travelled, like 
the hand of a clock, through every hour between ten 
A. M. and ten p. m. We have a list, well attested, of 
every successive hour between these limits having 
been the known established hour for the royal dinner- 
table within the last three hundred and fifty years. 
Time, therefore, vanishes from the problem ; it is a 
quantity regularly exterminated. The true elements 
of the idea are evidently these : — 1. That dinner is 
that meal, no matter when taken, which is the princi- 
pal meal ; i, e., the meal on which the day's support is 

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thrown. 2. That it is therefore the meal of hospitality. 
3. That it is the meal (with reference to both Nos. 1 
and 2) in which animal food predominate. 4. That it 
is that meal which, upon a necessity arising for the 
abolition of all hut one, would naturally offer itself as 
that one. Apply these four tests to prandium: — 
How could that meal prandium answer to the first 
test, as the day's support, which few people touched ? 
How could that meal prandium answer to the second 
test, as the meal of hospitality^ at which nobody sat 
down ? How could that meal prandium answer to the 
third test, as the meal of animal food, which consisted 
exclusively and notoriously of bread ? Or answer to 
the fourth test, as the privileged meal entitled to sur- 
vive the abolition of the rest, which was itself abolished 
at all times in practice ? 

Tried, therefore, by every test, prandium vanishes. 
But I have something further to communicate about 
this same prandium,- 

1. It came to pass, by a very natural association of 
feeling, that prandium and jentaadum, in the latter 
centuries of Rome, were generally confounded. This 
result was inevitable. Both professed the same basis. 
Both came in the momng. Both were fictions. Hence 
they melted and collapsed into each other. 

That fact speaks for itself — the modem breakfast 
and luncheon never could have been confounded ; but 
who would be at the pains of distinguishing two 
shadows ? In a gambling-house of that class, where 
you are at liberty to sit down to a splendid banquet, 
anxiety probably prevents your sitting down at all ; 
but, if you do, the same cause prevents you noticing 
what you eat. So of the two pseudo meals of Rome, 

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they came in the very midst of the Roman business — 
viz., from nine a. m. fb two p. m. Nobody could give 
his mind to^ them, had they been of better quality. 
There lay one cause of their vagueness — viz., in their 
position. Another cause was, the common basis of 
both. Bread was so notoriously the predominating 
' feature * in each of these prelusive banquets, that all 
foreigners at Rome, who communicated with Romans 
through the Greek language, knew both the one. and 
the other by the name of aQroanog, or the bread repast. 
Originally, this name had been restricted to the earlier 
meal. But a distinction without a difference could not 
sustain itself ; and both alike disguised their emptiness 
under this pompous quadrisyllable. All words are 
suspicious, there is an odor of fraud about them, which 
— being concerned with common things — are so base 
as to stretch out to four syllables. What does an honest 
word want with more than two ? In the identity of 
substance, therefore, lay a second ground of confusion. 
And then, thirdly, even as to the time, which had ever 
been the sole real distinction, there arose from accident 
a tendency to converge. For it happened that, while 
some had jentaculum but no prandium, others had 
prandium but no jentaculum ; a third party had both ; 
a fourth party, by much the largest, had neither. Out 
of which four varieties (who would think that a non- 
entity could cut up into so many somethijigs ?) arose a 
fifth party of compromisers, who, because they could 
not afford a regular ccma^ and yet were hospitably dis- 
posed, fused the two ideas into one ; and so, because 
the usual time for the idea of a breakfast was nine to 
ten, and for the idea of a luncheon twelve to one, com- 
promised the rival pretensions by what diplomatists 

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call a mezzo termine ; bisecting the time at eleven, and 
melting the two ideas into one. ♦ But, by thus merg- 
ing the separate times of each, they abolished the sole 
real difference that had ever divided them. Losing 
that, they lost all. 

Perhaps, as two negatives make one affirmative, it 
may be thought that two layers of moonshine might 
coalesce into one pancake ; and two Barmecide ban- 
quets might be the square root of one poached egg. 
Of that the company were the best judges. But, 
probably, as a rump and dozen, in our land of wagers, 
is construed with a very liberal latitude as to the 
materials, so Martial's invitation, ' to take bread with 
him at eleven,' might be understood by the avvtxoi (the 
knowing ones) as significant of something better than 
^T0(j£T05. Otherwise, in good truth, ' moonshine and 
turn-out ' at eleven a. m. would be even worse than 
* tea and turn-out ' at eight p. m., which the ' fervida 
juventus ' of Young England so loudly deprecates. 
But, however that might be, in this convergement of 
the several frontiers, and the confusion that ensued, 
one cannot wonder that, whilst the two bladders col- 
lapsed into one idea, they actually expanded into four 
names — two Latin and two Greek, gustus and gus- 
tatio, ytvaig and ytvofia — which all alike express the 
merely tentative or exploratory act of a pragustcUar 
or professional ' taster ' in a king's household : what, 
if applied to a fluid, we shoidd denominate sipping. 

At last, by so maAy steps all in one direction, thmgs 
had come to such a pass — Che two prelusive meals of 
the Roman morning, each for itself separately vague 
from the beginning, had so communicated and inter- 
fused their several an4 joint vaguenesses, that at last 

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no ;man knew or cared to know what any other man 
included in his idea of either ; how much or how little. 
And you might as well have hunted in the woods of 
Ethiopia for Prester John, or fixed the parish of the 
Everlasting Jew,® as have attempted to say what ' jen- 
taculum * certainly was, or what ' prandium * certainly 
was not. Only one. thing was clear, that neither was 
anything that people cared for. They were hoth 
empty shadows ; hut shadows as they were, we find 
from Cicero that they had a power of polluting and 
profaning hetter things than themselves. 

We presume that no rational man will heceforth 
look for * dinner * — that great idea according to Dr. 
Johnson — that sacred idea according to Cicero — in 
a hag of moonshine on one side, or a hag of pollution 
on the other. Prandium, so far from heing what our 
foolish dicdonaries pretend — dinner itself — never in 
its palmiest days was more or other than a miser- 
able attempt at being luncheon. It was a conatus^ 
what physiologists call a nisus, a struggle in a very 
ambitious spark, or scintilla, to kindle into a fire. 
This nisus went on for some centuries ; but finally 
evaporated in smoke. If prandium had worked out 
its ambition, had ' the great stream of tendency ' ac- 
complished all its purposes, prandium never could 
have been more than a very indifferent luncheon. But 

2. I have to offer another fact, ruinous to our dic- 
tionaries on another ground. Various circumstances 
have disguised the truth, but a truth it is, that ' pran- 
dium,' in its very origin and incunabula, never was a 
meal known to the Roman culina. In that court it 
was never recognized exeept as an idieni. It had no 

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original domicile in tlie city of Rome. It was a vom 
castrensis, a word and an idea purely martial, and 
pointing to martial necessities. Amongst the new 
ideas proclaimed to the recruit, this was one — ' Look 
for no " ccena,** no regular dinner, with us. Resign 
these unwarlike notions. It is true that even war has 
its respites ; in these it would be possible to have our 
Roman ccma with all its equipage of ministrations. 
But luxury untunes the mind for doing and suffering. 
Let us voluntarily renounce it ; that, when a necessity 
of renouncing it arrives, we may not feel it among the 
hardships of war. From the day when you enter the 
gates of the camp, reconcile yourself, tiro, to a new 
fashion of meal, to what in camp dialect we call pran- 
dium.^ This prandium, this essentially military meal, 
was taken atanding, by way of symbolizing the ne- 
cessity of being always ready for the enemy. Hence 
the posture in which it was taken at Rome, the very 
counter-pole to the luxurious posture of dinner. A 
writer of the third century, a period from which the 
Romans naturally looked back upon everything con- 
nected with their own early habits, with much the 
same kind of interest as we extend to our Alfred (sep- 
arated from us, as Romulus from them, by just a thou- 
sand years), in speaking of prandium, says, ' Quod 
dictum est parandittm, ab eo quod milites ad beUum 
paret* Isidorus again says, ' Proprie apud veteres 
prandium vocatum fuisse omnem militum cibum ante 
pugnam : ' i. c, ' that, properly speaking, amongst our 
ancestors every military meal taken before battle was 
termed prandium J' According to Isidore, the propo- 
sition is reciprocating ; viz., that, as every prandium 
was a military meal, so every military meal was called 


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prandiunu But, in fact, the reason of that is apparent. 
Whether in the camp or the city, the early Romans 
had probahly hut one meal in a day. That is true of 
many a man amongst ourselves by choice ; it is true 
also, to our knowledge, of some horse regiments in our 
service, and may be of all. This meal was called coma, 
or dinner in the city — p*an(Zium in camps. In the 
city, it would always be tending to one fixed hour. 
In the camp, innumerable accidents of war would 
make it very uncertain. On this account it would be 
an established rule to celebrate the daily meal at noon, 
if nothing hindered ; not that a later h^ur would not 
have been preferred, had the choice been free ; but it 
was better to have a certainty at a bad hour, than by 
waiting for a better hour to make it an uncertainty. 
For it was a camp proverb — PransuSy paratus ; armed 
with his daily meal, the soldier is ready for service. 
It was not, however, that all meals, as Isidore imagined, 
were indiscriminately called prandium; but that the 
one sole meal of the day, by accidents of war, might, 
and did, revolve through all hours of the day. 

The first introduction of this military meal into 
Rome itself would be through the honorable pedantry 
of old centurions, ^., delighting (like the Commodore 
Tnmnions of our navy) to keep up in peaceful life 
some image or memorial of their past experience, so 
wild, so full of peril, excitement, and romance, as 
Roman warfare must have been in those ages. Many 
non-military people for health's sake, many as an 
excuse for eating early, many by way of interposing 
some refreshment between the stages of forensic busi- 
ness, would adopt this hurried and informal meal. 
Many would wish to see their sons adopting such a 

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meal, as a training for foreign service in partleular, %iid 
for temperance in general. It would also be main- 
tained by a solemn and yery interesting commemora^ 
tion of this camp repast in Rome. 

This commemoration, because it has been grossly 
misunderstood by Salmasius (wbose error aro^e from 
not marking the true point of a particular antithesis), 
and still more, because it is a distinct confirmation of 
all I have said as to the military nature^ of prandiwn^ 
J shall detach ;&om the series of my illustrations, hf 
placing it in a separate paragraph. 

On a set day the o^lcers of the army were invited 
by Caesar to a banquet; it was a circumstance ex^ 
pressly noticed in the invitation, that tiie banquet was 
not a ' coena,' but a ' prandiimi.' What did that imply ? 
Why, that all the guests must present themselvea 
in full military accoutrement; whereas, observes th« 
historian, had it been a cceno, the officers would bav^ 
unbelted their swords ; for he adds, even in Cesar's 
presence the officers are allowed to lay aside theiir 
swords. The word prandium, in short, converted th« 
palace into the imperial tent; and Ceesar was no 
longer a civil emperor and princeps sendtus^ but 
became a commander-in-chief amongst a council of 
his staff, all belted and plumed, and in full military fig. 

On this principle we eome to understand why it is, 
that, whenever the Latin poets speak of an army as 
taking food, the word used is always pranderu and 
pranmis ; and when the word used is prandens^ then 
always it is an army that is concerned. Thus Juvenal 
in a well-known passage : — 

* OredimiiB altos 
Deeioeasse anmes, qwtaqneftuTmBa, Medo 
PrandenU * — 

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tiiat rivers were drunk up, when the Mede [i. e., the 
Median army under Xerxes] took his daily meal: 
prandentCy observe, not ccmante: you might aff well 
talk of ai^ army taking tea and buttered toast, as taking 
ecmcu Nor is that word ever applied to armies. It is 
true that the converse is not so rigorously observed ; 
nor ought it, &om the explanations already given. 
Though no soldier dined {canabat)^ yet Idie citizen 
sometimes adopted the camp usage, and took a pran- 
dium* But generally the poets use the word merely 
, to mark the time of day. In that most humorous ap- 
peal of Perseus — ' Cur quis non pnmdeat, hoc est ? * — 
is this a sufficient reason for losing one's prandium 1 
— he was obliged to say prandium^ because no exhilM- 
tions ever could cause a man to lose his cana, since' 
none were displayed at a time of day when nobody in 
Rome would have attended. Just as, in alluding to a 
parliamentary speech notoriously delivered at midnight, 
an En^ish satirist might have said. Is this a speech to 
fumidii an argument for leaving one's bed ? — not as 
what stood foremost in his regard, but as die only 
thing that cmdd be lost at that time of night. 

On this principle, also — viz. by going back to the 
military origin of prandium — we gain t^e interpreta- 
tion of all the peculiarities attached to it: viz. — 
1, its ^ly hour ; 2, its being tak^i in a standing 
posture ; 3, in the open air ; 4, the humble quality of 
its materials — bread and biscuit (the main articles of 
military fare). In all these circumstances of the meal, 
we read most legibly written, the exotic (or noil-civic) 
character of the meal, and its martial character. 

Thus I have brought down our Roman friend to 
noonday, or even one hour later than noon, and to 

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this moment the poor man has' had nothing to eat. 
For supposing him to he not impransus, and supposing 
him jentdsse beside ; yet it is evident (I hope) that 
neither one nor the other means more than what it was 
often called — viz., paxxiafiog, or, in plain English, a 
mouthful. How long do we intend to keep him wait- 
ing? Header, he will dine at three, or (supposing 
dinner put off to the latest) at four. Dinner was 
never known to be later than the tenth hour at Rome, 
which in summer would be past five ; but for a far 
greater proportion of days would be near four in Rome. 
And so entirely was a Roman the creature of ceremo- 
nial usage, that a national mourning woiild probably 
have been celebrated, and the ' sad augurs ' would 
have been called in to expiate the prodigy, had the 
general dinner lingered beyond four. 

But, meantime, what has our Mend been about since 
perhaps six or seven in the morning? After paying 
his little homage to his patronus, in what way has he 
fought with the great enemy Time since then ? Why, 
reader, this illustrates one of the most interesting 
features in the Roman character. The Roman was the 
idlest of men. ' Man and boy,' he was * an idler in 
the land.' He called himself and his pals, 'rerum 
dominos, gentemque togatam * — ^the gentry that wore 
the toga.^ Yes, a pretty set of gentry they wSfe, and 
a pretty affair that ' toga ' was. Just figure to your- 
self, reader, the picture of a hard-working man, with 
homy hands, like our hedgers, ditchers, porters, &c., 
setting to work on the high road in that vast sweeping 
toga, filling with a strong gale like the mainsail of a 
frigate. Conceive the roars with which this magnifi- 
cent figure would be received into the bosom of a 

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modem poor-house detachment sent out to attack the 
stones on some line of road, or a fatigue party of dust- 
men sent upon secret service. Had there been nothing 
left as a memorial of the Romans but that one relic — 
their immeasurable toga^ — I should have known that 
they were bom and bred to idleness. In fact, except 
in war, the Roman never did anything at all but sun 
himself. Uti se apricaret was the final cause of peace 
in his opinion ; in literal truth, that he might make an 
apricot of himself. The public rations at all times 
supported the poorest inhabitant of Rome if he were a 
citizen. Hence it was that Hadrian was so astonished 
with the spectacle of Alexandria, ' dvitas opulenta, 
fcBCunda, in qud nemo vivat otiosus,* Here first he 
saw the spectacle of a vast city, second only to Rome, 
where every man had something to do ; podagrosi 
quod agant habent ; habent ccBci quodfaciant; ne chi- 
ragrici* (those with gout in the fingers) ^ apud eos 
otiosi vivuntJ No poor rates levied upon the rest of 
the world for the benefit of their own paupers were 
there distributed gratis. The prodigious spectacle 
(such it seemed to Hadrian) was exhibited in Alexan- 
dria, of all men earning their bread in the sweat of 
their brow. In Rome only (and at one time in some 
of the Grecian states), it was the very meaning of citi- 
zen that he should vote and be idle. Precisely those 
were the two things which the Roman, the foBx Romuli, 
had to do — viz., sometimes to vote, and always to be 

In these circumstances, where the whole sum of 
life's duties amounted to voting, all the business a 
man could have was to attend the public assemblies, 
electioneering or £Eictious. These, and any judicial 

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trial (public or private) tliat might happen to int^reffit. 
him for the persons concerned, or for the questions- at 
stake, amused him through tiie morning ; that is, from 
eight till one. He might also extract some diversion 
from the columna, or pillars of certain, porticoes to 
which they pasted advertisements. These caches must 
have been numerous ; for all the giria. in Rome who 
lost a trinket, or a pet bird, or a lap-^log, took this 
mode of angling in the great ocean of the public for 
the missing articles. 

But all this time I take for granted that th^e were 
no shows in a course of exhibition, either the dreadful 
ones of the amphitheatre, or the bloodless ones of the^ 
circus. If there were, tiien that became the business 
of all Romans ; and it was a business which would 
have occupied him &om dayli^t until the light began- 
to fail. Here we see another efiect front the scarcity 
of artificial light amongst the ancienta. These magni- 
ficent shows went on by daylight. But how incom- 
parably more gorgeous woidd have been the splendor* 
by lamp-light! What a gigantic conception! Two* 
hundred and fifty thousand human £aces all revealed 
under one blaze of lamp-light ! Lord Bacon saw the 
mighty advantage of candle-light for the pomps and 
glories of this world. But the poverty of the earth, 
was the original cause that the Pagan shows proceeded 
by day. Not that the masters of the world,, who 
rained Arabian odors and perfumed waters of the 
most costly description from a thousand fountains,, 
simply to cool the summer heats, would, in the latter 
centuries of Roman civilization, have regarded the ex<- 
pense of light ; cedar and other odorous woods burning: 
upon vast altars, together with every variety of i 

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torch, would have created light enough to shed a new 
day stretching over to the distant Adriatic. But pre- 
cedents derived from early ages of poverty, ancient 
traditions, overruled the practical usage. 

However, as there may happen to be no public spec- 
tacles, and the courts of political meetings (if not 
closed altogether by superstition) would at any rate be 
closed in the ordinary course by twelve or one o'clock, 
nothing remains for him to do, before returning home, 
except perhaps to attend the pdlcBstra, or some public 
recitation of a poem written by a friend, but in any^ 
case to attend the public baths. For these the time 
varied ; and many people have thought it tyrannical in 
some of the Caesars that they imposed restraints on 
l^e time open for the baths ; some, for instance, would 
not suffer them to open at all before two ; and in any 
case, if you were later than four or five in summer, 
you would have to pay a fine, which most effectually 
cleaned out the baths of all raff*, since it was a sum 
that John Quires could not have produced to save his 
life. But it should be considered that the emperor 
was the steward of the public resources for maintain- 
ing the baths in fuel, oil, attendance, repairs. And 
certain it is, that during the long peace of the first 
Caesars, and after the annonaria provisio (that great 
jdedge of popularity to a Roman prince) had been in- 
creased by the com tribute from the Nile, the Roman 
population took a vast expansion ahead. The subse- 
quent increase of baths, whilst no old ones were 
neglected, proves tliat decisively. And as citizenship 
expanded by means of the easy terms on which it 
oould be had, so did the bathers multiply. The popu- 
Ution of Rome in the century after Augustus, was £u 

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greater than during tliat era ; and this, still acting as 
a vortex to the rest of the world, may have been one 
great motive with Constantine for translating the capi- 
tal eastwards ; in reality, for breaking up one monster 
capital into two of more manageable dimensions. Two 
o'clock was sometimes the earliest tour at which the 
public baths were opened. But in Martial's time a 
man could go without blushing {salvd fronte) at eleven ; 
though even then, two o'clock was the meridian hour 
for the great uproar of splashing, and swimming, and 
* larking ' in the endless baths of endless Kome. 

And now, at last, bathing finished, and the exercises 
of the palcBStra, at half-past two, or three, our Mend 
finds his way home — not again to leave it for that 
day. He is now a new man; refreshed, oiled with 
perfumes, his dust washed off* by hot water, and ready 
for enjoyment. These were the things that deter- 
mined the time for dinner. Had there been no other 
proof that ccma was the Roman dinner, this is^ an am- 
ple one. Now first the Roman was fit for dinner, in a 
condition of luxurious ease ; business over — that day's 
load of anxiety laid aside — his cuticle, as he delighted 
to talk, cleansed and polished — nothing more to do 
or to think of until the next morning : he might now 
go and dine, and get drunk with a safe conscience. 
Besides, if he does not get dinner now, when will he 
get it ? For most demonstrably he has taken nothing 
yet which comes near in value to that basin of soup 
which many of ourselves take at the Roman hour of 
bathing. No ; we have kept our man fasting as yet. 
It is to be hoped, that something is coming at last. 

Yes, something is coming; dinner is coming, the 
great meal of * coma ; ' the meal sacred to hospitality 

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and genial pleasure comes now to fill up the rest of 
the day, until light fails altogether. 

Many people are of opinion that the Romans only 
understood what the capabilities of dinner were. It is 
certain that they were the first great people that dis- 
covered the true secret and meaning of dinner, the 
great office which it fulfils, and which we in England 
are now so generally acting on. Barbarous nations — 
and none were, in that respect, more barbarous than 
our own ancestors — made this capital blimder : the 
brutes, if you asked them what was the use of dinner, 
what it was meant for, stared at you, and replied — as 
a horse would reply, if you put the same question 
about his provender — that it was to give him strength 
for finishing his work ! Therefore, if you point your 
telescope back to antiquity about twelve or one o'clock 
in the daytime, you will descry our most worthy an- 
cestors all eating for their very lives, eating as dogs 
eat — viz., in bodily fear that some other dog will 
come and take their dinner a-v^ay. What swelling of 
the veins in the temples (see Bos well's natural history 
of Dr. Johnson at dinner) ! what intense and rapid 
deglutition ! what odious clatter of knives and plates ! 
what silence of the himian voice ! what gravity ! what 
fury in the libidinous eyes with which they contem- 
plate the dishes ! Positively it was an indecent spec- 
tacle to see Dr. Johnson at dinner. But, above all, 
what maniacal haste and hurry, as if the fiend were 
waiting with red-hot pincers to lay hold of the hind- 
ermost ! 

Oh, reader, do you recognize in this abominable 
picture your respected ancestors and ours ? Excuse 
me for saying, * What monsters ! ' I have a right to 

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call my own ancestors monsters ; and, if so, I must 
have tbe same right over yours. For Southey has shown 
plainly in the * Doctor,' that every man having four 
grandparents in the second stage of ascent, conse* 
quently (since each of those four will have had four 
grandparents) sixteen in the third stage, consequently 
sixty-four in the fourth, consequently two hundred 
and fifty-six in the fifth, and so on, it follows that, 
long before you get to the Conquest, every man and 
woman then living in England will be wanted to make 
up the sum of my separate ancestors ; consequently 
you must take your ancestors out of the very same 
fund, or (if you are too proud for that) you must go 
without ancestors. So that, your ancestors being 
dearly mine, I have a right in law to call the whole 

* kit ' of them monsters. Quod erat demonstrandum. 
Really and upon my honor, it makes one, for the mo- 
ment, ashamed of one's descent ; one would wish to 
disinherit one's-self backwards, and (as Sheridan says 
in the * Rivals ') to * cut the. connection.' Wordsworth 
has an admirable picture in, * Peter Bell ' of ^ a snug 
party in a parlor ' removed into limbus patrum for their 
offences in the flesh : — 

< Cramming as they on earth were oraram'd ; 
All sipping wine, all sipping tea ; 
But, as you by their faees see, 
All silent, and sill d-r — d.* 

How well does that one word sUenl describe (hose 
venerable ancestral dinners -r- * All silent ! ' Contrast 
this infernal silence of voice, and fury of eye, with the 
' risus ambUiSy' the festivity, the sodal kindness, the 
music, the wine, the * duleis insania/ of a Romaa 

* coma,* I mentioned four tests for dete^rmii^iiig mhMt 

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DiirirES, !BEix, Ajrs XEptrrxD. 229 

iheal is, and ^at is not, dinner : we may now add a 
fifth — viz., the spirit of festal joy and elegant enjoy- 
ment, of anxiety laid- aside, and of honorable social 
pleasure put on like a marriage garment. 

~And what caused the difference between our ances- 
tors and the Romans ? Simply this -^ the error of in- 
terposing dinner in the middle of business, thus court- 
ing ail the Inreezes of angry feeling t^t may happen to 
blow from the business yet to come, instead of .finish- 
ing, absolutely closing, the account with this world's 
troubles before you sit down. That unhappy in- 
terpolation ruined all. Dinner was an ugly little 
parenthesis between two still uglier clauses of a tee- 
totally ugly sentence. Whereas, with us, their enlight- 
ened posterity, to whom they have the honor to be 
ancestors, dinner is a great re-action. There lies my 
conception of the matter. It grew out of the very ex- 
cess of the evil. When business was moderate, dinner 
was allowed to divide and bisect it. - When it swelled 
into that vast strife and agony, as one may call it, that 
boils along the tortured streets of modem London or 
other capitals, men begin to see the necessity of an 
adequate counter-force to push against this overwhelm- 
ing torrent, and thus maintain the equilibrium. Were 
it not for the soft relief of a six o'clock dinner, the 
gentle demecmor succeeding to thejboisterous hubbub 
of the day, the soft glowing lights, the wine, the intel- 
lectual conversation, life in London is now come to 
such a pass, that in two years all nerves would sink 
before it. But for this periodic re-€W)tion, the modem 
business Which draws so cruelly on the brain, and so 
little on the hands, would overthrow that organ in all 
but tiiose of coarse organization. Dinner it is — 

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meaning by dinner the wliole complexity of attendant 
circumstances — whicli sayes the modem brain- work- 
ing man from going mad. 

This revolution as to dinner was the greatest in 
virtue and value ever accomplished. In fact, those 
are always the most operative revolutions which are 
brought about through social or domestic changes. A 
nation must be barbarous, neither could it have much 
intellectual business, which dined in the morning. 
They could not be at ease in the morning. So much 
must be granted : every day has its separate quantum^ 
its dose of anxiety, that could not be digested as soon 
noon. No man will say it. He, therefore, who dined 
at noon, showed himself willing to sit down squalid 
as he was, with his dress unchanged, his cares not 
washed off. And what follows from that? Why, that 
to him, to such a canine or cynical specimen of the 
genus homOy dinner existed only as a physical event, a 
mere animal relief, a purely carnal enjoyment. For in 
what, I demand, did this fleshly creature differ from 
the carrion crow, or the kite^ or the vulture, or the 
cormorant ? A French judge, in an action upon a wa- 
' ger, laid it down as law, that man only had a houche^ 
all other animals a gueule : only with regard to the 
horse, in consideration of his beauty, nobility, use, 
and in honor of the respect with which man regarded 
him, by the courtesy of Christendom, he might be 
allowed to have a houcJiCy and his reproach of brutality, 
if not taken away, might thus be hidden. But surely, 
of the rabid animal who is caught dining at noonday, 
the homo ferus, who affronts the meridian sun like 
Thyestes and Atreus, by his inhuman meals, we are, 
by parity of reason, entitled to say, that he has a ^ maw ' 

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(so has Milton's Death), but nothing resembling a 
stomach. And to this vile man a philosopher would 
say — *Go away, sir, and come back to me two or 
three centuries hence, when you have learned to be a 
reasonable creature, and to make that physico-intellec- 
tual thing out of dinner which it was meant to be, and 
is capable of becoming.' In Henry VII.'s time the 
court dined at eleven in the forenoon. But even that 
hour was considered so shockingly late in the French 
court, that Louis XII. actually had his gray hairs 
brought down with sorrow to the grave, by changing 
his regular hour of half-past nine for eleven, in gallan- 
try to his young English bride. ^® He fell a victim to 
late hours in the forenoon. In Cromwell's time they 
dined at one p. m. One century and a half had car- 
ried them on by two hours. Doubtless, old cooks and 
scullions wondered what the world would come to 
next. Our French neighbors were in the same pre- 
dicament. But they far surpassed us in veneration 
for the meal. They actually dated from it. Dinner 
constituted the great era of the day. L'apres diner is 
almost the sole date which you find in Cardinal De 
Retz's memoirs of the Fronde. Dinner was their He-- 
gira — dinner was their line in traversing the ocean of 
day : they crossed the equator when they dined. Our 
English Revolution came next ; it made some little 
difference, I have heard people say, in church and 
state ; I dare-say it did, like -enough, but its great 
effects were perceived in dinner. People now dine at 
two. So dined Addison for his last thirty years ; so, 
through his entire life, dined Pope, whose birth was 
coeval with the Revolution. Precisely as the Rebel- 
lion of 1745 arose, did people (but observe, very great 

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232 ]>nrvxs, bxai^ astv nsrvxioi. 

people) adrance to fow p, m. PhiloBophOTB, w!io watcb 
the * semina rerum,' and the first symptonui of duinge, 
had perceived this alteration singmg in the upper air 
like a coming storm some little time before. About 
the year 1740, Pbpe complains of Lady Suffolk's 
dining so late as four. Young people may bear those 
lyings, he observed ; but as to himself, now turned of 
fifty, if such things i^ent on, if Lady Suffolk would 
adopt such strange hours, he must really absent him* 
self from Marble Hill. Lady Suffolk had a right to 
please herself; he himself loved h^. But, if she 
would persist, all which remained for a decayed poet 
was respectfully to cut his stick, and retire. Whether 
Pope ever put up with four o'clock dinn^s again, I 
have vainly sought to fathom. Some things advance 
continuously, like a flood or a fire, which always make 
an end of A, eat and digest it, before they go on to 
B. Other things advance per ealtum — thejr do not 
silently cancer their way onwards, but lie as/^still 9B a 
snake after they have made some notable conquest, 
then, when imobserved, they make themselves up ' for 
mischief,' and take a flying bound onwards. Thus 
advanced Dinner, and by these fits got into the terri- 
tory of evening. And ever as it made a motion on- 
wards, it foun^ the nation more civilized (else the 
change could not have been effected), and co-operated 
in raising them to a still higher civilization. The next 
relay on that line of road, the next repeating frigate* 
is Cowper in his poem on * Conversation.' He speaks 
of four o'clock as still the elegant hOur for dinner — 
the hour for the lautiores and the lepidi htmines. 
Now this might be written about 1780, or a little 
earlier ; perhaps, therefore, just one generation after 

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Pope^s Lady Suffolk. But then Cowper was living 
amongst the rural gentry, not in high life ; yet, again, 
Cowper was nearly connected by blood with the emi- 
nent Whig house of Cowper, and acknowledged as a 
kinsman. About twenty-five years after this, we may 
take Oxford as a good exponent of the national ad- 
vance. As a magnificent body of ' foundations/ en- 
dowed by kings, nursed by queens, and resorted to by 
the flower of ihe national youfdi, Oxford ought to be 
elegant and even splendid in her habits. Yet, on 1^ 
other hand, as a grave seat of learning, and feeling the 
weight of her position in the commonwealth, she is 
gAow to move ; she is inert as she should be, having, 
the functions of resistance assigned to her against the^ 
popular instinct (surely active enough) of movement. 
Now, in Oxford, about 1804^v there was a general 
move in the dinner hour. Those colleges who dined 
at three, of which there were still several, now began to 
dine at four : those who had dined at four,, now trans-^ 
lated their hour to five. These continued good g^ieral 
hours till about Wateiioo. After that era, six, which 
had been somewhat of a gala hour, was. promoted to the^ 
fixed station of dinner-time in ordinary; and there' 
peihaps it will rest through centuries. For a more 
fbstal dinner, seven, eight, nine, ten, have all been in 
requisition since then; but I am not aware of any 
man's habitually dining later than ten f. m., except 
in that classical case recorded by Mr. Joseph Miller, 
d an Irishman who must have dined much later than 
tfen, because his servant protested, when others were 
enforcing the dignity of their masters by the lateness 
of their dinner hours, that JUs master invariably dined. 
* to*morrow.' 

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Were the Romans not as barbarous as our own an- 
cestors at one time? Most certainly they were; in 
their primitive ages theey took their ccma at noon,ii 
that was before they had laid aside their barbarism ; 
before they shaved; it was during their barbarism, 
and in consequence of their barbarism, that they timed 
their ccma thus unseasonably. And this is made evi- 
dent by the fact, that, so long as they erred in the 
hour, they erred in the attending circumstances. At 
this period they had no music at dinner, no festal 
graces, and no reposing on sofas. They sat bolt up- 
right in chairs, and were as grave as our ancestors, as 
rabid, as libidinous in ogling the dishes, and doubtless 
as furiously in haste. 

With us the revolution has been equally complex. 
We do not, indeed, adop^ the luxurious attitude of 
semi-recumbency ; our climate makes that less requi- 
site ; and, moreover, the Komans had no knives and 
forks, which could scarcely be used in that recumbent 
posture ; they ate with their fingers from dishes already 
cut up — whence the peculiar force of Seneca's * post 
quod non sunt lavandse nanus.' But, exactly in propor- 
tion as our dinner has advanced towards evening, have 
we and has that advanced in circumstances of elegance, 
of taste, of intellectual value. This by itself would be 
much. Infinite would be the gain for any people, that 
it had ceased to be brutal, animal, fleshly ; ceased to 
regard the chief meal of the day as a ministration only 
to an animal necessity ; that they had raised it to a 
higher office ; associated it with social and humanizing 
feelings, with manners, with graces moral and intel- 
lectual ; moral in the self-restraint ; intellectual in the 
&ct, notorious to all men, that the chief arenas for the 

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easy display of intellectual power are at our dinner ta- 
bles. But dinner has now even a greater function than 
this ; as the fervor of our day's business increases, 
dinner is continually more needed in its office of a 
great re-action, I repeat that, at this moment, but for 
the daily relief of dinner, the brain of all men who 
mix in the strife of capitals would be imhinged and 
thrown off its centre. 

If we should suppose the case of a nation taking 
three equidistant meals, all of the same material and 
the same quantity — all milk, for instance, all bread, 
or all rice — it would be impossible for Thomas 
Aquinas himself to say which was or was not dinner. 
The case would be that of the Roman ancile which 
dropped from the skies; to prevent its ever being 
stolen, the priests made eleven facsimiles of it, in 
order that a thief, seeing the hopelessness of distin- 
guishing the true one, might let all alone. And the 
result was, that, in the next generation, nobody could 
point to the true one. But our dinner, the Eoman 
c(snd, is distinguished from the rest by far more than 
the hour ; it is distinguished by great functions, and 
by still greater capacities. It is already most benefit 
cial ; if it saves (as I say it does) the nation from 
madness, it may become more "so. 

In saying this, I point to the lighter graces of music, 
and conversation more varied, by which the Eoman 
coma was chiefly distinguished from our dinner. I am 
far from agreeing with Mr. Croly, that the Roman 
meal was more ' intellectual ' than ours. On the con- 
trary, ours is the more intellectual by much ; we have 
far greater knowledge, far greater means for making it 
such. In fact, the fault of our meal is -*— that it is too 

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intellectual ; of too severe a character ; toa political ; 
too much tending, in many hands, to disquisition. 
Reciprocation of question and answer, yariety of topics^ 
shifting of topics, are points not sufficiently cultivated. 
In all else I assent to the following passage from Mr. 
Croly's eloquent ' Salathiel : ' — 

' If an ancient Roman could start from hi» slumher 
into the midst of European life, he must look with 
scorn on its ahsence of grace, elegance, and fancy. 
But it is in its festivity, and most of all in its hanquets, 
that he would feel the incurahle harharism of the 
Gothic blood. Contrasted with the fine displays thai 
made the table of the Roman noble a ^ture, and 
threw over the indulgence of ai^tite the colors of the 
^ imagination, with what eyes must he contemplate the 
tasteless and commonplace dress, the coarse attendants^ 
the meagre ornament, the want of mirth^ music, and 
intellectual interest — the whole heavy machinery t^mt 
converts the feast into the mere drudgery of devoiyr-^ 


Thus far the reader knows alkieady that I dissect 
violently ; and by looking back he will see a picture' 
of our ancestors at dinner, in which they rehearse the: 
very part in relation to ourselves, that Mr. Croly sup- 
poses all modems to rehearse in relation to the Ro* 
mans ; but in the rest of the beautiM description, the 
positive, though not the comparative part» we must all 
concur : — 

* The guests before me were fifty or sixty splendidly 
dressed men ' (they were in fiwjt Titus and his staff, 
then occupied with the siege of Jerusalem), 'attended 
by a crowd of domestics, attured with scarcely less 
^endor; for no man thought of coming to the baa« 

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quct in the robes of ordinary life. The embroidered 
couches, themselves striking objects, allowed the ease 
of position at once delightful in the relaxing clim^es 
of the south, and capable q£ combining with every 
grace of the human figure. At ft edight distance^ the 
table loaded with plate glittering under a profusion of 
lamps, and surrounded by couches thus covered by 
rich draperies, was ^ike a central source of light radiat- 
ing in broad shafts of every brilliant hue. The wealth 
of the patricians, and their intercourse with the Greeks, 
made them masters of the first performances of the 
arts. Copies of the most famous statues, and groups 
of sculpture in the precious metals ; trophies of victo- 
ries ; models of temples, were mingled with vases of 
flowers and lighted perfumes. Finally, covering and 
closing all, was a vast scarlet canopy, which combined 
the groups beneath to the eye, and threw the whole 
into the form that a painter would love.' 

Mr. Croly then goes on to insist on the intellectual 
embellishments of the Roman dinner ;• their variety, 
their grace, their adaptation to a festive purpose. The 
truth is, our English imagination, more profound than 
the Roman, is also more gloomy, less gay, less riante. 
That accounts for our want of the gorgeous triclinium^ 
with its scarlet draperies, and for many other differ- 
ences both to the eye and to the understanding. But 
both we and the Romans agree in the main point : 
we both discovered the true purpose which dinner 
might serve — 1, to throw the grace of intellectual 
enjoyment over an animal necessity ; 2, to relieve and 
to meet by a benign antagonism the toil of brain inci- 
dent to high forms of social life. 

My object has been to point the eye to this fact ; to 

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show uses imperfectly suspected in a recurring accident 
of life ; to show a steady tendency to that consumma- 
tion, by holding up, as in a mirror, a series of changes, 
corresponding to our own series with regard to the 
same chief meal, silently going on in a great people of 

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NoTB 1. Page 198. 

* In procinct : ' — Milton's translation ( somewhere in the 
* Paradise Regained ') of the technical phrase < in procinoto.' 

Note 2. Page 199. 
« Geologists know not : ' — In man the sixtieth part of six thou- 
sand years is a very Tenerable age. But as to a planet, as to our 
little earth, instead of arguing dotage, six thousand years may 
have scarcely carried her beyond babyhood. Some people think 
she is cutting her first teeth; some think her in lier teens. But, 
seriously, it is a very interesting problem. Do the sixty centu- 
ries of our earth imply youth, maturity, or dotage ? 

Note 3. Page 200. 

* Everywhere the ancients went to bed, like good hoys, from 
seven to nine o* clock :* — As I am perfectly serious, I must beg 
the reader, who fancies any joke in all this, to consider what an 
immense difference it must have made to the earth, considered as 
a steward of her own resources — whether great nations, in a pe- 
riod when their resources were so feebly developed, did, or did 
not, for many centuries, require candles; and, I may add, fire. 
The five heads of human expenditure are — 1. Food; 2. Shelter; 
8. Clothing; 4. Fuel; 5. Light All were pitched on a lower scale 
in the Pagan era; and the two last were almost banished from 
ancient housekeeping. What a great relief this must have been 
to our good mother the earth ! who at first was obliged to request 
of her children that they would settle round the Mediterranean. 
She could not even afford them water, unless they would come 
and fetch it themselves out of a common tank or cistern. 


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240 NOTES. 

NoTS 4. Page 201. 
• * Hie mane salutantes : * — There can be no doubt that the 
levees of modem princes and ministers have been inherited from 
this ancient usage of Rome; one which belonged to Rome repub- 
lican, as well as Rome imperiaL The fiction in our modem 
practice is — that we wait upon the lever, or rising of the prince. 
In France, at one era, this fiction was realized : the courtiers 
did really attend the king's dressing. And, as to the queen» 
^ eyen up to the Reyolution, Marie Antoinette gaye audience at hsr 

None 6. Page 204. 

• Or again, ** siccum pro biscocto, ut hodie vocamw, 8umi» 
mus?"* — It is odd e&ongh that a scholar so complete as 
Salmasius, whom nothing ever escapes, should haye oyerlooked 
so obvious an altematiye as that of siccus in the sense of being 
without opsonium — Scotici, without * kitchen.' 

J^oTB 6. Page 206, 

* The whole amount of relief: * — From which it appears haw 
grossly Locke (see his * Education ') was deoedyed in &ncyiiig 
that Augustus practised any remarkable abstinence in taldng 
only a bit of bread and a raisin or two, by way of luncheon. 
Augustus did no more than most people did; secondly, he ab- 
stained only upon principles of luxury with a yiew to dinner ; 
iwd thirdly, for this dinner he neyer waited longer than up to 
four o'clock. 

NoTK 7. Page 212. 

* Mansiones : ' ^- The halts of tl^e Roman l^ona* the station- 
ary places of repose which divided the marches, were so called. 

Note 8. Page 217. 

• The Everlasting Jew : ' — ThcT G^man name for what we 
English call the Wandering Jew. The German imagination has 
been most struck by the duration of the man's life, and his un- 
happy sanctity from death; the English, by the unrestingness of 
the man's life, his incapacity of repose. 

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K0TJB8. 241 

Note 9. Page 228. 
' Immeasurable toga :* — It is yery true that in the time of 
Augustas the toga had disappeared amongst the lowest plebs, 
and greatly Augustus was shocked at that spectacle. It is a Tery 
curious l^t in itself, especially as expounding the main cause of 
the ciyil wars. Mere poTorty, and the absence of bribery from 
Borne, whilst all popular competition for offices drooped, can 
alone explain this remarkable reyolution of dress. 

Note 10. Page 281. 
' His young English Bride : ' — The case of an old man, or 
one reputed old, marrying a yery girlish wife, is always too much 
for the gravity of history; and, rather than lose the joke, the 
historian prudently disguises the age, which, after all, in this 
case was not above fifty-four. And the very persons who insist 
on the late dinner as the proximate cause of death, elsewhere in- 
sinuate something more plausible, but not so decorously expressed. 
It is odd that this amiable prince, so memorable as having been 
a martyr to late dining at eleven a. m., was the same person who 
IS so equally memorable for the noble, almost the subUme, answer 
about a King of France not remembering the wrongs of a Duke 
of' Orleans. 

Note 11. Page 284. 
• Took their ccma at noon : * — And, by the way, in order to 
show how Uttle cana had to do with any evening hour (though, 
in any age but that of our.fathers, four in the afternoon would 
never have been thought an evening hour), the Roman gour^ 
mands and bons vivants continued through the very last ages of 
Rome to take their cana^ when more than usually sumptuous, at 
noon. This, indeed, all people did occasionally, just as we some- 
times give a dinner even now so early as four p. m., under the 
name of a breakfast. Those who took their cana so early as 
this, were said de die canare — to begin dining firom high day. 
That line in Horace — * Ut jugulent homines, surgunt de node 
latrones' — does not mean that the robbers rise when others 
are going to bed, viz., ftt night£Ul, but at midnight. For, says 

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242 KOTBt. 

one* of the three best scholars of this earth, de die, de nocUf 
mean firom that hour which ms most ftilly, meet intensely day 
or night, Yis., the centre, the meridian. This cme &ct is surely 
a clincher as to the qnestion whether cana meant dinner or 

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As we are all of US crazy when the wind sets in 
some particular quarter, let not Mr. Landor be angry 
with me for suggesting that he is outrageously crazy 
upon one solitary subject of spelling. It occurs to 
me, as a plausible solution of his fury upon this point, 
that perhaps in his earliest school-days, when it is 
understood that he was exceedingly pugnacious, he 
may have detested spelling, and (like Roberto the 
Deville ^) have found it more satisfactory for all par- 
ties, that when the presumptuous schoolmaster differed 
from him on the spelling of a word, the question 
between them should be settled by a stand-up fight. 
Both parties would have, the victory at times : and 
if, according to Pope's expression, 'justice rul'd the 
ball,' the schoolmaster (who is always a villain) would 
be floored three times out of four ; no great matter 
whether wrong or not upon the immediate point of 
spelling discussed. It is in this way, viz«, from the 
irregular adjudications upon litigated spelling, which 
must have arisen under such a mode of investigating 
the matter, that we account for Mr. Lander's being 
sometimes in the right, but too often (with regard to 


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long words) egregiously in the wrong. As lie grew 
stronger and taller, he would be coming more and 
more amongst polysyllables, and more and more 
would be getting the upper hand of the schoolmaster ; 
so that at length he would have it all his own way ; 
one round would decide the turn-up ; and thencefor- 
wards his spelling would become frightful. Now, I 
myself detested spelling as much as all people ought 
to do, except Continental compositors, who have extra 
fees for doctoring the lame spelling of ladies and gen- 
tlemen. But, unhappily, I had no power to thump the 
schoolmaster into a conviction of his own absurdities ; 
which, however, I greatly desired to do. Still, my 
nature, powerless at that time for any aotive recusancy, 
was strong for passive resistance ; and that is the 
hardest to conquer. I took one lesson of this infernal 
art, and then declined ever to take a second ; and in 
fact, I never did. Well I remember that unique morn- 
ing's experience. It was the first page of EnticflU 
Dictionary that I had to get by heart ; a sweet sen- 
timental task ; and not, as may be ftncied, the spelling 
only, but the horrid attempts of this depraved Entick 
to explain the supposed meaning of words that proba- 
bly had none ; many of these, it is my belief, Entick 
himself forged. Among the strange, grim-looking 
words, to whose acquaintance I was introduced on that 
unhappy morning, were abdlienaie and ablaqueation — ^. 
most respectable words, I am fully persuaded, but so 
exceedingly retired in their habits, that I never once 
had the honor of meeting either of them in any book, 
pamphlet, journal, whether in prose or numerous 
verse, though haunting such society myself all my 
life. I also formed the acquaintance, at that time, of 

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the word ahacuSy which, as a Latin word, I have often 
used, but, as an English one, I really never had occa- 
sion to spell, until this very moment. Yet, after all, 
what harm comes of such obstinate recusancy against 
orthography ? I was an * occasional conformist ; ' I 
conformed for one morning, and never more. But, for 
all that, I spell as well as my neighbors ; and I can 
spell ahlaqueation besides, which I suspect that some 
of them can not. 

My own spelling, therefore, went right, because I 
was left to nature, with strict neutrality on the part of 
the authorities. Mr. Landor's too often went wrong, 
because he was thrown into a perverse channel by his 
continued triumphs over the prostrate schoolmaster. 
To toss up, as it were, for the spelling of a word, by 
the best of nine rounds, inevitably left the impression 
that chance governed all; and this accounts for the 
extreme capriciousness of Landor. 

It is a wotfc for a separate dictionary in quarto to 
record all the proposed revolutions in spelling through 
which our English blood, either at home or in Ameri- 
ca, has thrown off, at times, the surplus energy that 
consumed it. I conceive this to be a sort of cutaneous 
affection, like nettle-rash, or ringworm, through which 
the patient gains relief for his own nervous distraction, 
whilst, in fjEU^t, he does no harm to anybody : for usu- 
ally he forgets his own reforms, and if he should not, 
everybody else does. Not to travel back into the 
seventeenth century, and the noble army of short-hand 
writers who have all made war upon orthography, for 
secret purposes of their own, even in the last century, 
and in the present, what a list of eminent rebels against 
the spelling-book might be called up to answer for 

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their wickedness at the bar of the Old Bailey, if any- 
body would be kind enough to make it a felony! 
Cowper, for instance, too modest and too pensive to 
raise upon any subject an open standard of rebellion, 
yet, in quiet Olney, made a small emeute as to the 
word 'Grecian.' Everybody else was content with 
one * e ; ' but he recollecting the cornucopia of e's, 
which Providence had thought fit to empty upon the 
mother word Greece^ deemed it shocking to disinherit 
the poor child of its hereditary wealth, and wrote it, 
therefore, Greecian throughout his Homer. Such a 
modest reform the sternest old Tory could not find in 
his heart to denounce. But some contagion must have 
collected about this word Greece ; for the next man, 
who had much occasion to use it — viz., Mitford* — 
who wrote that * History of Greece ' so eccentric, and 
80 eccentrically praised by Lord Byron, absolutely 
took to spelling like a heathen, slashed right and left 
against decent old English words, until, in fact, the 
whole of Entick's Dictionary {ablaqueation and all) 
was ready to swear the peace against him. Mitford, 
in course of time, slept with his fathers ; his grave, I 
trust, not haunted by the injured words whom he had 
tomahawked ; and, at this present moment, the Bishop 
of St. David's reigneth in his stead. His Lordship, 
bound over to episcopal decorum, has hitherto been 
sparing in his assaults upon pure old English words : 
but one may trace the insurrectionary taint, passing 
down from Cowper through the word Grecian, in 
many of his Anglo-Hellenic forms. For instance, he 
insists on our saying — not Heracleida and PelopidtB, 
as we all used to do — but Herachids and Pdopids. 
A list of my Lord's barbarities, in many other cases. 

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upon unprotected words, poor shivering aliens that fall 
into his power, when thrown upon the coast of his dio- 
cese, I had — had, I say, for, alas ! fuit Ilium. 

Yet, really, one is ashamed to linger on cases so 
mild as those, coming, as one does, in the order of 
atrocity, to Elphinstone, to Noah Webster, a Yankee 
— which word means, not an American, but that 
separate order of Americans, growing in Massachu- 
setts, Rhode Island, or Connecticut, in fact, a New 
Englander 3 — and to the rabid Ritson. Noah would 
naturally have reduced us all to an antediluvian sim- 
plicity. Shem, Ham, and Japheth, probably separated 
in consequence of perverse varieties in spelling ; so 
that orthographical unity might seem to him one con- 
dition fdr preventing national schisms. But as to the 
rabid Ritson, who can describe his vagaries ? What 
great arithmetician can furnish an index to his absur- 
dities, or what great decipherer furnish a key to the 
principles of these absurdities ? In his very title- 
pages, nay, in the most obstinate of ancient techni- 
calities, he showed his cloven foot to the astonished 
reader. Some of his many works were printed in 
Pall'Mall ; now, as the world is pleased to pronounce 
that word Pel-Mel, thus and no otherwise (said Rit- 
son) it shall be spelled for ever. Whereas, on the 
contrary, some men would have said : The spelling is 
well enough, it is the public pronunciation which is 
wrong. This ought to be Paid-Maul ; or, perhaps — 
agreeably to the sound which we give to the'^a in such 
words as what, quantity, want — still better, and with 
more gallantry. Poll- Moll. The word Mr., again, in 
Bitson's reformation, must have astonished the Post- 
office. He insisted that this cabalistical-looking fornix 

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which might as reasonably be translated into nunuteTf 
was a direct fraud on the national language, quite as 
bad as clipping the Queen's coinage. How, then, 
should it be written ? Reader ! reader ! that you will 
ask such a question ! mister ^ of bourse ; and mind that 
you put no capital m ; unless, indeed, you are speak- 
ing of some great gun, some mister of misters, such as 
Mr. Pitt of old, or perhaps a reformer of spelling. 
The plural, again, of such words as romance, age, 
horse, he wrote romancees, agees, horsees ; and upon 
the following eqidtable consideration, that, inasmuch 
as the e final in the singular is mute, that is, by a 
general vote of the nation has been allowed to retire 
upon a superannuation allowance, it is abominable to 
call it back upon active service — like the modem 
Chelsea pensioners — as must be done, if it is to bear 
the whole weight of a separate syllable like ces. Con- 
sequently, if the nation and Parliament mean to keep 
faith, they are bound to hire a stout young e to run in 
the traces with the old original e, taking the whole 
work off his aged shoulders. Volumes would not suf- 
fice to exhaust the madness of Ritson upon this sub- 
ject. And there was this peculiarity in his madness, 
over and above its clamorous ferocity, that being no 
classical scholar (a meagre self-taught Latinist, and 
no Grecian at all), though profound as a black-letter 
scholar, he cared not one straw for ethnographic rela- 
tions of the words, nor unity of analogy, which are the 
principles that generally have governed reformers of 
spelling. He was an attorney, and moved constantly 
imder the monomaniac idea that an action lay on be« 
half of the misused letters, mutes, liqidds, vowels, and 
diphthongs, against somebody or other (John Doe-, was 

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it, or Richard Roe ?) for trespass on any rights of theirs 
which an attorney might trace, and of course for any 
direct outrage upon their persons. Yet no man was 
more systematically an offender in both ways than 
himself ; tying up one leg of a quadruped word, and 
forcing it to run upon three ; cutting off noses and 
ears, if he fancied that equity required it : and living 
in eternal hot water with a language which he pre- 
tended eternally to protect. 

And yet all these fellows were nothing in compari- 
son of Mr. "* Pinkerton. The most of these men did 
but ruin the national spelling ; but Pinkerton — the 
monster Pinkerton — proposed a revolution which 
would have left us nothing to spell. It is almost in- 
credible — if a book regularly printed and published, 
bought and sold, did not remain to attest the fact — 
that this horrid barbarian seriously proposed, as a 
glorious discovery for refining our language, the fol- 
lowing plan. All people were content with the com- 
pass of the English language : its range of expression 
was equal to anything ; but, unfortunately, as com- 
pared with the sweet, orchestral languages of the 
south — Spanish the stately, and Italian the lovely — 
it wanted rhythmus and melody. Clearly, then, the 
one supplementary grace, which it remained for mod- 
em art to give, is that every one should add at discre- 
tion and a» ino and ano, to the end of the English 
words. The language, in its old days, should be 
taught struttare struttissimamente. As a specimen, 
Mr. Pinkerton favored us with his own version of a 
famous passage in Addison, viz., * The Vision of 
Mirza.' The passage, which begins thus, * As I sat 
on Hke top of a rock,* being translated into, ' As I satto 

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on the toppino of a roeko/ 6cc. Bat luekUissime thid 
proposalio of the absurdissimo PinkerUmio ^ was not 
adoptado by anyhody'ini whaSever-ano. 

Mr. Landor is more learned, and probably more 
consistent in his assaults upon the established spelling 
than most of these elder reformers. But that does not 
make him either learned enough or consistent enough. 
He never ascends into Anglo-Saxon, or the many cog- 
nate languages of the Teutonic flEunily, which is indis- 
pensable to a searching inquest upon our language ; 
he does not put forward in this direction even the 
slender qualifications of Home Tooke. But Greek 
and Latin are quite unequal, when disjoined from the 
elder wheels in our etymological system, to the work- 
ing of the total machinery ^f the English language. 
Mr. Landor proceeds upon no fixed principles in his 
changes. Sometimes it is on the principle of internal 
analogy within itself, that he would distort or retrotort 
the language ; sometimes on. the principle of external 
analogy with its roots ; sometimes on the principle of 
euphony, or of metrical convenience. Even within 
such principles he is not uniform. All well-built 
English scholars, for instance, know that the word 
fealty cannot be made into a dissyllable: trisyllabic 
it ever was® with the elder poets — Spenser, Milton, 
^. ; and so it is amongst all the modem poets who 
have taken any pains with their English studies : e. g*. 

< The eagle, lord of land and sea, • 
Stoop'd — down to pay him ie-al-ty.' 

It is dreadful to hear a man say fedL-ty in any case ; 
but here it is luckily impossible. Now, Mr. Landof 
generally is correct, and trisects the word ; but once» 

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at least, he bisects it. I complain, besides, that Mr. 
Landor, in urging the authority of Milton for ortho- 
graphic innovations, does not always distinguish as to 
* Milton's motives. It is true, as he contends, that, in 
some instances, Milton reformed the spelling in obedi- 
ence to the Italian precedent : and certainly without 
blame ; as in sovran^ sdeign, which ought not to be 
printed (as it is) with an elision before the 5, as if 
short for disdain ; but in other instances Milton's mo- 
tive had no reference to etymology. Sometimes it was 
this. In Milton's day the modem use of italics was 
nearly unknown. Everybody is aware that, in our 
authorized version of the Bible, published in Milton's 
infancy, italics are never once used for the purpose of 
emphasis — but exclusively to indicate such words or 
auxiliary forms as, though implied and virtually pres- 
ent in the original, are not textually expressed, but 
must be so in English, from the different genius of 
the language.^ Now, this want of a proper technical 
resource amongst the compositors of the age, for indi- 
cating a peculiar stress upon the word, evidently drove 
Milton into some perplexity for a compensatory contri- 
vance. It was unusually requisite for him, with his 
elaborate metrical system and his divine ear, to have 
an art for throwing attention upon his accents, and 
upon his muffling of accents. When, for instance, he 
wishes to direct a bright jet of emphasis upon the pos- 
sessive pronoun their, he writes it as we now write it. 
But, when he wishes to take off the accent, he writes 
it thir.^ Like Ritson, he writes therefor and wherefor 
without the final e ; not regarding the analogy, but 
singly the metrical quantity : for it was shocking to 
hia classical feeling that a sound so short to the ear 

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should be represented to the eye by so long a combi- 
nation as fore ; and the more so, because uneducated 
people did then, and do now, often equilibrate the 
accent between the two syllables, or rather make the 
quantity long in both syllables, whilst giving an over- 
balance of the accent to the last. The ' Paradise Lost,' 
being printed during Milton's blindness, did not receive 
the full and consistent benefit of his spelling reforms, 
which (as I have contended) certainly arose partly in 
the imperfections of typography at that aera ; but such 
changes as had happened most to impress his ear with 
a sense of their importance, he took a special trouble, 
even under all the disadvantages of his darkness, to 
have rigorously adopted. He must have astonished 
the compositors, though not quite so much as the 
tiger-cat Ritson or the Mr. (viz. monster) Pinkerton — 
each after Aw kind — astonished their compositors. 

But the caprice of Mr. Landor is shown most of all 
upon Greek names. Nous autres say * Aristotle,' and 
are quite content with it until we migrate into some 
extra-superfine world; but this title will not do for 
him : * Aristotles ' it must be. And why so ? Be- 
cause, answers the Landor, if onc6 I consent to say 
Aristotle, then I am pledged to go the whole hog ; 
and perhaps the next man I meet is Empedodes, 
whom, in that case, I must call Empedocle. Well, do 
BO. Call him Empedocle ; it will not break his back, 
which seems broad enough. But, now, mark the con- 
tradictions in which Mr. Landor is soon landed. He 
says, as everybody says, Terence, and not Terentiua, 
Horace, and not Horatius ; but he must leave off such 
honid practices, because he dares not call Lucretius by 
the analogous name of Lucrece, since that would be 

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putting a she instead of a he ; nor Propertius by the 
name of Properce, because that would be speaking 
French instead of English. Next he says, and con- 
tinually he says, Virgil for Virgilius. But, on that; 
principle, he ought to say Valer for Valerius ; and yet 
again he ought not : because as he says Tully and not 
Tull for Tullius, so also is he bound, in Christian 
equity, to say Valery for Valer ; but he cannot say 
either Valer or Valery. So here we are in a mess. 
Thirdly, I charge him with saying Ovid for Ovidius : 
which I do, which everybody does, but which he must 
not do : for if he means to persist in that, then, upon 
his own argimient from analogy, he must call Didius 
Julianus by the shocking name of Did, which is the 
same thing as Tit — since T is D soft. Did was a 
very great man indeed, and for a very short time 
indeed. Probably Did was the only man that ever 
bade for an empire, and no mistake, at a public auc- 
tion. Think of Did's bidding for the Roman empire ; 
nay, think also of Did's having the lot actually 
knocked down to him ; and of Did's going home to 
dinner with the lot in his pocket. It makes one per- 
spire to think that, if the reader or myself had been 
living at that time, and had been prompted by some 
whim within us to bid against him — that is, he or I 
— should actually have come down to posterity by the 
abominable name of Anti-Did. All of us in England 
say Livy when speaking of the great historian, not 
LiviuS. Yet Livius Andronicus it would be impos- 
sible to indulge with that brotherly name of Livy. 
Marcus Antonius is called — not by Shakspeare only, 
but by all the world — Mark Antony ; but who is it 
that ever called Marcus Brutus by the affectionate 

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name of Mark Brute ? ' Keep your distance^' we saj 
to that very doubtful brute, ' and expect no pet names - 
from us.* Finally, apply the principle of abbreviationy 
involved in the names of Pliny, Livy, Tully, all sub- 
stituting y for ««5, to Marius — that grimmest oi grim 
visions that rises up to us from the phantasmagoria of 
Boman history. Figure to yourself, reader, that trucu« 
lent £GU3e, trenched and scarred witii hostile swords, 
carrying thunder in its ominous eye-brows, and fright- 
ening armies a mile off with its scowl, being saluted 
by the tenderest of feminine names, as * My Mary.' 

Not only, therefore, is Mr. Landor inconsistent in 
these innovations, but the innovations themselves, sup- 
posing them all harmonized and established, would 
but plough up the landmarks of old hereditary feel- 
ings. We leam oftentimes, by a man's bearing a 
good-natured sobriquet amongst his comrades, that he 
is a kind-hearted, social creature, popular with them 
all ! And it is an illustration of the same tendency, 
that the scale of popularity for the classical authors 
amongst our fathers, is registered tolerably well, in a 
gross general way, by the difference between having 
and not having a familiar name. If we except the first 
Cssar, the mighty Caius Julius, who was too majestic 
to invite familiarity, though too gracious to have 
repelled it, there is no author whom our fore£Ekthers 
loved, but has won a sort of Christian name in the 
land. Homer, and Hesiod, and Pindar, we all say ; 
we cancel the alien us ; but we never say Theocrit for 
Theocritus. Anacreon remains rigidly Grecian marble ; 
but that is only because his name is not of a plastic 
form — else everybody loves the sad^ old fellow. The 
same bar to familiarity existed in the names of th» 

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tragic poets, except perhaps for .^Ischylus; who, 
however, like Csesar, is too awful for a caressing 
name. But Roman names were, generally, more 
flexible. Livy and Sallust have ever been favorites 
with men ; Livy with everybody ; Sallnst, in a degree 
that may be called extravagant^ with many celebrated 
Frenchmen, as the President des Brosses, and in our 
own days with M. Lerminier, a most eloquent and 
original writer (' Etudes Histariques ') ; and two 
centuries ago, with the greatest of men, John Milton, 
in a degree that seems to me absolutely mysterious. 
These writers are baptized into our society — have 
gained a settlement in our parish: when you call a 
man Jack, and not Mr. John, it's plain you like him. 
But, as to the gloomy Tacitus, our fathers liked him 
not. He was too vinegar a fellow for them ; nothing 
hearty or genial about him ; he thought ill of every- 
body ; and we all suspect that, for those times, he was 
perhaps the worst of the bunch himself. Accordingly, 
this Tacitus, because he remained so perfectly tacit for 
our jolly old forefathers' ears, never slipped into the 
name Tacit for their mouths ; nor ever will, I predict, 
for the mouths of posterity. Coming to. the Roman 
poets, I must grant that three great o«es, viz., Lucre- 
tius, Statins, and Valerius Flaccus, have not been 
complimented with the freedom of our city, as they 
should have been, in a gold box. I regret, also, the 
ill fortune, in this respect, of Catullus, if he was 
really the author of that grand headlong dithyrambic, 
the Atys: he certainly ought to have been ennobled 
by the title of CatuU. Looking to very much of his 
writings, much more I regret the case of Plautus ; and 
I am sure that if her Majesty would warrant his bear- 

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ing the name and arms of Plaut in all time coming, it 
would gratify many of us. As to the rest, or those 
that anybody cares about, Horace, Virgil, Ovid, Lucan, 
Martial, Claudian, all have been raised to the peerage. 
Ovid was the great poetic favorite of Milton ; and not 
without a philosophic ground : his festal gayety, and 
the brilliant velocity of his aurora borealis intellect, 
forming a deep natural equipoise to the mighty gloom 
and solemn planetary movement in the mind of the 
other ; like the wedding of male and female counter- 
parts. Ovid was, therefore, rightly Milton's favorite. 
But the favorite of all the world is Horace. Were 
there ten peerages, were there three blue ribbons, 
vacant, he ought to have them all. 

Besides, if Mr. Landor could issue decrees, and even 
harmonize his decrees for reforming our Anglo-Grecian 
spelling — decrees which no Council of Trent could 
execute, without first rebuilding the Holy Office of the 
Inquisition — still there would be little accomplished. 
The names of all continental Europe 'are often in con- 
fusion, from different causes, when Anglicized : Ger- 
man names are rarely spelled rightly by the laity of 
our isle : Polish and Hungarian never. Many foreign 
towns have in England what botanists would call trivial 
names ; Leghorn, for instance, Florence, Madrid, Lis- 
bon, Vienna, Munich, Antwerp, Brussels, the Hague, 
— all unintelligible names to the savage Continental 
native. Then, if Mr. Landor reads as much of Anglo- 
Indian books as I do, he must be aware that, for many 
years back, they have all been at sixes and sevens ; so 
that now most Hindoo words are in masquerade, and 
we shaU soon require English pundits in Leadenhall 
Street.^ How does he like, for instance, Sipahee^ the 

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modem form for Sepoy '/ or Tepheen for Tiffin 7 At 
this rate of metamorphosis, absorbing even the conse- 
crated names of social meals, we shall soon cease to 
understand what that disjune was which his sacred 
Majesty graciously accepted at Tillietudlem. But even 
elder forms of oriental speech are as little harmonized 
in Christendom. A few leagues of travelling make 
the Hebrew unintelligible to us; and the Bible be- 
comes a Delphic mystery to Englishmen amongst the 
countrymen of Luther. Solomon is there called Sala- 
mo ; Samson is called Simson, though probably he 
never published an edition of Euclid. Nay, even in 
this native isle of ours, you may be at cross purposes 
on the Bible with your own brother. I am, myself, 
next door neighbor to Westmoreland, being a Lan- 
cashire man; and, one day, I was talking with a 
Westmoreland farmer, whom, of course, I ought to 
have understood very well ; but I had no chance with 
him : for I could not make out who that JNo was, con- 
cerning whom or concerning which, he persisted in 
talking. It seemed to me, from the context, that No 
must be a man, and by no means a chair ;^ but so very 
negative a name, you perceive, furnished no positive 
hints for solving the problem. I said as much to the 
farmer, who stared in stupefaction. ' What,' cried 
he, ' did a far-larn'd man, like you, fresh from Oxford, 
never hear of No, an old gentleman that should have 
been drowned, but was not, when all his folk were 
drowned ? ' * Never, so help me Jupiter,' was my 
reply : * never heard of him to this hour, any more 
than of Yes, an old gentleman that should have been 
hanged, but was not, when all his folk were hanged. 
Populous No — I had read of in the Prophets ; but 

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tbat was not an old gentleman.* It turned out that 
the farmer and all his compatriots in bonny Martindale 
had been taught at the parish school to rob the Patri- 
arch Noah of one clear moiety appertaining in fee 
simple to that ancient name. But afterwards I foimd 
that the farmer was not so entirely absurd as he had 
seemed. The Septuagint, indeed, is clearly against 
him; for there, as plain as a pikestaff, the farmer 
might have read Ifws, But, on the other hand. Pope, 
not quite so great a scholar as he was a poet, yet still 
a fair one, always made Noah into a monosyllable ; 
and that seems to argue an old English usage ; though 
I really believe Pope's reason for adhering to such an 
absurdity was with a prospective view to the rhymes 
blow, or row, or stow (an important idea to the Ark), 
which struck him as likely words, in case of any cidl 
for writing about Noah. 

The long and the short of it is — that the whole 
world lies in heresy or schism on the subject of orthog- 
raphy. All climates alike groan under heterography. 
It is absolutely of no use to begin with one's own 
grandmother in such labors of reformation. It is toil 
thrown away : and as nearly hopeless a task as the 
proverb insinuates that it is to attempt a reformation in 
that old lady's mode of eating eggs. She laughs at 
one. She has a vain conceit that she is able, out of 
her own proper resources, to do both, viz., the spelling 
and the eating of the eggs. And all that remains for 
philosophers, like Mr. Landor and myself, is — to turn 
away in sorrow rather than in anger, dropping a silent 
tear for the poor old lady's infatuation. 

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Nonl. Page 248. 
* Roberte the Devilte ; ' — See the old metrical romance of that 
name : it belongs to the fourteenth century, and was printed 
some thirty years agt>, with wood engravings of the illuminations. 
Boberte, however, took the liberty of murdering his schoolmaster. 
But could he well do less ? Being a reigning Duke's son, and 
after the rebellious schoolmaster had said — 

* Sir, ye bee too bolde : 
And theretnth tooke a rodde hymfor to chaste,* 

TJpon which the meek Bobin, without using any bad language as 
the schoolmastei had done, simply took out a long dagger * hym 
far to chaste,* i^ich he did effectually. The schoolmaster gave 
no bad language alter that. 

Note 2. Page 246. 
Mitford, who was the brother of a man better known than him- 
self to the public eye, viz.. Lord Bedesdale, may be considered a 
yery unfortunate author. His work upon Greece, which Lord 
Byron celebrated for its 'wrath and its partiality, really had 
those merits : choleric it was in excess, and as entirely partial, 
as nearly perfect in its injustice, as human infirmity would 
allow. Nothing is truly perfect in this shocking world; absolute 
iigustice, alas ! the perfection of wrong, must not be looked for 
until we reach some high Platonic form of polity. Then shall we 
revel and bask in a vertical sun of iniquity. Meantime, I will 
say — that to satisfy aU bilious and unreasonable men, a better 
historian of Greece, than Mitford, could not be fancied. And 
yet, at the very moment when he was stepping into his harvest 


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260 NOTES. 

of popularity, down comes one of those omnivorous Germans tliat, 
by reading everything and a trifle besides, contrive to throw 
really learned men — and perhaps better thinkers than them- 
seves — into the shade. Ottfried Mueller, with other archaeolo- 
gists and travellers into Hellas, gave new aspects to the very 
purposes of Grecian history. Do you hear, reader ? not new 
answers, but new questions And Mitford, that was gradually 
displacing the unlearned GiUies, &c., was himself displaced by 
those who intrigued with Germany. His other woirk on < the 
Harmony of Language,' though one of the many that attempted, 
and the few that accomplished, the distinction between accent and 
quantity, or learnedly appreciated the metrical science of Milton, 
was yet, in my hearing, pronounced utterly intelligible by the 
he8t practical commentator on Milton, viz., the beet reproducer 
of his exquisite effects in blank verse, that any generation since 
Biilton has been able to show. Mr. Mitford was one of the many 
accomplished scholars that are ill-used. Had he possessed the 
splendid powers of the Landor, he would have raised a clatter 
on the armor of modem society, such as Samson threatened to 
the giant Harapha. For, in many respects, he resembled the 
Landor : he had much of his learning — he had the same ezten- 
nve access to books and influential circles in great cities — the 
same gloomy disdain of popular fiilsehoods or commonplaces — 
and the same disposition to run a-muck againsi all nations, lan- 
guages, and spelling-books. 

Note 8. Page 247. 
* In fact, a J^Tew Englander.* — This explanation, upon a 
matter fS&miliar to the well-informed, it is proper to repeat occa- 
sionally, because we English exceedingly perplex and confound 
the Americans by calling, for instance, a Virginian or a Eentuck 
by the name of Yankee, whilst that term was originally intro- 
duced as antithetic to these more southern States. 

NoTB 4. Page 249. 

Pinkerton published one of his earliest volumes, under this 

title — * Bimes, by Mr. Pinkerton,' not having the fear of Ritson 

before his eyes. And, for once, we have reason to thank Bitson 

tar his remark — that the form Mr. might just as well be read 

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NOTES. 261 

Monster, Pinkerton in this point was a perfect monster. As 
to the word Rimes, instead of Rhymes, he had something to 
stand upon; the Greek rytkmos was certainly the remote foun- 
tain; but the proximate fountain must haTe been the Italian 

NoTB 6. Page 260. 
The most extrayagant of all experiments on language is 
brought forward in the * Letters of Literature, by Eobert Heron.' 
But Bobert Heron is a pseudonyrM for John Pinkerton ; and I 
have been told that Pinkerton's motiye for assuming it was — 
because Heron had been the maiden name of his mother. Poor 
lady, she would have stared to find herself, in old age, trans- 
formed into Mistressina Heronilla. What most amuses one in 
pursuing the steps of such an attempt at refinement, is its recep- 
tion by * Jack ' in the na^y. 

Note 6. Page 250. 
* It ever vms * — and, of course, being (as there is no need to 
tell Mr. Landor) a ibrm obtained by contraction from fidelitas, 

Nora 7. Page 251. 
Of this a ludicrous illustration is mentioned by the writer 
once known to the public as Trinity Jones, Some young cler- 
gyman, unacquainted with the technical use of italics by the' 
original compositors of James the First's Bible, on coming to the 
27th Ycrse, chap. xiii. of 1st Kings, * And he * (viz., the old 
prophet of Bethel) * spake to his sons, saying. Saddle me the 
ass. And they saddled him ; * (where the italic him simply 
meant that this word was involved, but not expressed, in the 
original,) read it, * And they saddled him ; ' as though these 
undutiftil sons, mstead of saddling the donkey, had saddled the 
old prophet. In fact, the Old gentleman's directions are not 
quite without an opening for a filial misconception, if the reader 
examines ^em as closely as / examine words. 

Note 8. Page 251. 
He usee this and similar artifices, in &ct, as the damper 
in a modem piano-forte, ibr modyf^'ng the swell of the intona- 

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262 NOTES. 

Note 9. Page 266. 
The reasons for this anarchj in the natnraliiation of Eastern 
words are to be sought in three causes : 1. In national rival- 
ships : French travellers in India, like Jacquemont, &c., as they 
will not adopt our English First Meridian, will not, of course, 
adopt our English spelling. In one of Paul Richter's novels a 
man assumes the First Meridian to lie generally, not through 
Greenwich, but through his own skull, and always through his 
own study. I have myself Icmg suspected the Magnetic Pole to 
lie under a friend's wine-cellar, from the vibrating movement 
which I have remarked constantly going on in liis cluster of keys 
towards that particular point. Beally, the French, like Sir 
Anthony Absolute, must * get an atmosphere of their own,' such 
is their hatred to holding anything in common with us. 2. They 
are to be sought in local Indian differences at pronunciation. 8. 
In the variety of our own British population — soldiers, mission- 
aries, merchants, who are unlearned or half-learned — scholars, 
really learned, but often fiuitastically learned, and lastly (as you 
may swear) young ladies — anzioiiSy above all things, to mystiiy 
OS outside barbacians. 

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SuDDEKLT, about the middle of Februarj, I re- 
ceived a request for some contribution of my own 
proper writing to a meditated Album of the Glasgow 
Athenaeum. What was to be done? The 13th of the 
month had already dawned before the request reached 
me ; * return of post ' was thd sharp limitation notified 
within which my communication must revolve ; whilst 
the request itself was dated Feb. 10 : so that already 
three 'returns of post' had finished their brief career 
on earth. I am not one of those people who, in respect 
to bread, insist on the discretionary allowance of 
Paris ; but, in respect to time, I do. Positively, for 
all efforts of thought I must have time d discretion. 
In^this case, now, all discretion was out of the ques- 
tion ; a mounted jockey, in the melee of a Newmarket 
start, might as well demand time for meditation on the 
philosophy of racing. There was clearly no resource 
available but one ; and it was this : — In my study I 
have a bath, large enough to swim in, provided the 
swimmer, not being an ambitious man, is content with 
going a-head to the extent of six inches at the utmost. 
This bath, having been superseded (as regards its 
original purpose) by another mode of bathing, has 
yielded a secondary service to me as a reservoir for my 


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MSS. Filled to the brim it is by papers of all sorts 
and sizes. Every paper written by me, to me, for me, 
ofoT concerning me, and, finally, against me, is to be 
found, after an impossible search, in this capacious 
repertory. Those papers, by the way, that come under 
the last (or hostile) subdivision, are chiefly composed 
by shoemakers and tailors — an affectionate class of 
men, who stick by one to the last like pitch-plasters. 
One admires this fidelity ; but it shows itself too often 
in waspishness, and all the little nervous irritabilities 
of attachment too ardent. They are wretched if they 
do not continually hear what one is 'about,' what one 
is ' up to,' and which way one is going to travel. Me, 
because I am a political economist, they plague for my 
private opinions on the currency, especially on that 
part of it which consists in bills at two years after 
date ; and they always want an answer by return of 
post. What the deuce ! one can't answer everybody 
by return of post. Now, from this reservoir I resolved 
to draw some paper for the use of the Athenaeum. It 
was my fixed determination that this Institution should 
receive full justice, so far as human precautions could 
secure it. Four dips into the bath I decreed that the 
Athenaeum should have ; whereas an individual man, 
however hyperbolically illustrious, could have had but 
one. On the other hand, the Athenaeum must really 
content itself with what fortune might send, and not 
murmur at me as if I had been playing with loaded 
dice. To cut off all pretence for this allegation, I 
requested the presence of three young ladies, haters 
of everything unfair, as female attorneys, to wHtch the 
proceedings on behalf of the Athenaeum, to see that 
the dipping went on correctly, and also to advise the 

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court in case of my difficulties arising. At 6 p. m. 
all was reported right for starting in my study. The 
bath had been brilliantly illuminated from above, so 
that no tricks could be played in that quarter ; and the 
young man who was to execute the dips had finished 
dressing in a new potato sack, with holes cut tiirough 
the bottom for his legfL Now, as the sack was tied 
with distressing tightness abcpdt his throat, leaving 
only ft loop-hole for his right arm to play freely, it is 
dear that, however sincer^y fraudulent in his inten- 
tions, and in possible collusion with myself, he could 
not assist me by secreting any papers about his person^ 
or by any other knavery that we might wish to perpe- 
trate. The young ladies having taken their seats in 
•tations admirably chosen for overlooking the move- 
ments of the young man and myself, the proceedings 
opened. The inaugural step was made in a neal 
speech from myself, complaining that I was the object 
of unjust suspicions, and endeavoring to re-establish 
my character for absolute purity of intentions ; but, I 
regret to say, ineffectually. This angered me, and I 
declared with some warmUi, that in the bath, but 
whereabouts I could not guess, there lay a particular 
paper which I valued as equal to the half of my king- 
dom ; * but for all that,' I went on, ' if our hon. friend 
in the potato sack should chance to haul up this very 
paper, I am resolved to stand by the event, yes, in that 
case, to the half of my kingdom I will express my in- 
terest in the Institution. Should even thcU prize be 
drawn, out of this house it shall pack off to Glasgow 
this very night.' Upon this, the leader of the attor- 
neys, whom, out of honor to Shakspeare, I may as 
wdl call Portia, chilled my enthusiasm disagreeably by 

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saying — * There was no occasion for any extra zeal on 
my part in such an event, since, as to packing out of 
this house to Glasgow, she and her learned sisters 
woidd take good care that it did ; * — in fact, I was to 
have no merit whatever I did. Upon this, by way of 
driving away the melancholy caused by the obstinate 
prejudice of the attorneys, I called for a glass of wine, 
and, turning to the vFest, I drank the health of the 
Athenseum, under the allegoric idea of a young lady 
about to come of age and enter upon the enjoyment 
of her estates. * Here's to your prosperity, my dear 
lass,' I said ; ' you're very ygung — but that's a fault 
which, according to the old Greek adage, is mending 
every day ; and I'm sure you'll always continue as 
amiable as you are now towards strangers in distress 
for books and journals. Never grow churlish, my 
dear, as some of your sex are ' (saying which, I looked 
savagely at Portia). And then, I made the signal to 
the young man for getting to work — Portia's eyes, as 
I noticed privately, brightening like a hawk's. ' Pre-- 
pare to dip ! ' I called aloud ; and soon after — * Dip ! ' 
At the * prepare,* Potato-sack went on his right knee 
(his face being at right angles to the bath) ; at the 
'Dip!' he plunged his right arm into the billowy 
ocean of papers. For one minute he worked amongst 
them as if he had been pulling an oar ; and then, at 
the peremptory order * Haul vpl* he raised aloft in 
air, like Brutus refulgent from the stroke of Csesar, 
his booty. It was handed, of course, to the attor- 
neys, who showed a little female curiosity at first, for 
it was a letter with the seal as yet unbroken, and 
might prove to be some old love-letter of my writing, 
recently sent back to me by the Dead-Letter Office. 

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It still looked fresh and blooming. So, if there was 
no prize for Glasgow, there might still be an interest- 
ing secret for the benefit of the attorneys. What it 
was, and what each successive haul netted, I will regis- 
ter under the corresponding numbers. 

No.' 1 . — This was a dinner invitation for the 1 5th of 
February, which 1 had neglected to open. It was, as 
bill-brokers say, ' coming to maturity,' but luckily not 
past due (in which case you have but a poor remedy), 
for, though twenty days after date, it had still two 
days to run before it coidd be presented for payment. 
A debate arose with the attorneys — Whether this 
might not do for the Album, in default of any better 
haul ? 1 argued, for the affirmative, — that, although 
a dinner invitation cannot in reason be looked to for 
very showy writing, its motto being Esse quam videri 
(which is good Latin for — To edt rather than make 
believe to eat, as at ball suppers or Barmecide ban- 
quets), yet, put the case that I should send this invita- 
tion to the Athenaeum, accompanied with a power-of- 
attorney to eat the dinner in my stead — might not 
tJuit solid bonus as an enclosure weigh down the levity 
of the letter considered as a contribution to the Album, 
and take off the edge of the Athenaeum's displeasure ? 
Portia argued contra — that such a thing was impossi- 
ble ; because the Athenaeum had two thousand mouths, 
and would therefore require two thousand dinners ; — 
an argument which I admitted to be showy, but, 
legally speaking, hardly tenable: because the Athe- 
naeum had power to appoint a plenipotentiary — some 
man of immense calibre — to eat the dinner, as repre- 
sentative of the collective two thousand. Portia 
parried this objection by replying, that if the invita- 

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tion had been to a ball there might be something ia 
what I said ; but ag to a mere dinner, and full fifty 
miles to travel for it from Glasgow, the plenipoten- 
tiary (whatever might be his calibre) would decline to 
work so hard for such a trifle. * Trifle ! ' I replied — 
* But, with submission, a dinner twenty-two days after 
date of invitation is not likely to prove a trifle. This, 
however is, always the way in which young ladies, 
whether attorneys or not, treat the subject of dinner. 
And as to the fifty miles, the plenipotentiary could go 
in an hour.' ' How ? ' said Portia, sternly. ' Per 
rail,' I replied with equal sternness. What there waa 
to laugh at, I don't see ; but at this hot skirmish be- 
tween me and Portia concerning that rather visionary 
person the plenipotentiary, and what he might choose 
to do in certain remote contingencies, and especially 
when the gross reality of ' per rail ' came into coUisibn 
with his aerial essence, Potato-sack began to laugh so 
immoderately, that I was obliged to pull him up by 
giving the word rather imperiously — ^Prepare to 
dip ! ' Before he could obey, I was myself pulled up 
by Portia, with a triumph in her eye that alarmed me. 
She and her sister attorneys had been examining the 
dinner invitation — 'and,' said Portia maliciously to 
me, * it's quite correct — as you observe there are two 
days good to the dinner hour on the 15th ; *^ Prepare 
to dine ! " is the signal that should be flying at this 
moment, and in two days more " Dine / " — only, by 
misfortune, the letter is in the wrong year — it is four 
years old!' Oh! fancy the horror of this; tince, 
besides the mortification from Portia's victory, I had 
perhaps narrowly escaped an indictment from the 
plenipotentiary for sending him what might now be 

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coxulidered a swindle. I hurried to cover my confu- 
sion, by issuing the two orders ' Prepare to dip ! ' and 
*Dip!* almost in the same breath. No. 1, after all 
the waste of legal learning upon it, had suddenly burst 
like an air-bubble ; and the greater stress of expecta- 
tion, therefore, had now settled on No. 2. With con- 
siderable trepidation of voice, I gave the final order — 

No. 2. — It is disagreeable to mention that this haul 
brought up — 'a dun.' Disgust was written upon 
every countenance ; and I fear that suspicion began to 
thicken upon myself— as having possibly (from my 
personal experience in these waters) indicated to our 
young friend where to dredge for duns with most 
chance of success. But I protest fervently my inno- 
cence. It is true that I had mys^ long remarked 
that part of the channel to be dangerously infested 
with duns. In searching for iiterary or philosophic 
pikers, it would often happen for an hour together 
that I brought up little else than variegated specimens 
of the dun. And one vast bank there was, which I 
called the Qoodwi^ Sands, because nothing within the 
memory of man was ever known to be hauled up from 
it except eternal specimens of the dun — some gray 
with antiquity, some of a neutral tint, some green and 
lively. With grief it was that I had seen our dipper 
shoaling his water towards that dangerous neighbor- 
hood. But what could I do ? If I had warned him 
off, Portia would have been sure to fancy that there 
was some great oyster-bed or pearl-fishery in that 
region ; and all I should have effected by my honesty 
would have been a general conviction of my treachery. 
I therefore became as anxious as everybody else &t 

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No. 3, whiclL might set all to rights — mighty but 
slight were my hopes that it would, when I saw ia 
what direction the dipper's arm was working. Ex- 
actly below that very spot where he had dipped, lay, 
as stationary as if he had been anchored, a huge and 
ferocious dun of great antiquity. Age had not at all 
softened the atrocious expression of his countenance, 
but rather aided it by endowing him with a tawny 
hue. The size of this monster was enormous, nearly 
two square feet ; and I fancied at times that, in spite 
of his extreme old age, he had not done growing. I 
knew him but too well ; because whenever I happened 
to search in that region of the bath, let me be seeking 
what I would, and let me miss what I might, always I 
was sure to haul up him whom I never wanted to see 
again. Sometimes I even found him basking on the 
very summit of the papers ; and I conceived an idea, 
which may be a mere fancy, that he came up for air in 
particular states of the atmosphere. At^present he 
was not basking on the surface : better for the Athenae- 
um if he h^ : for then the young man would have 
been cautious. Not being above, he was certainly 
below, and underneath the very centre of the dipper's 
plunge. Unable to control my feelings, I cried out — 
' Bear away to the right ! ' But Portia protested with 
energy against this intermeddling of mine, as perfidy 
too obvious. ' Well,' I said, * have it your own way : 
you'll see what will happen.' 

No. 3. — This, it is needless to say, turned out the 
horrid old shark, as I had long christened him : 1 knew 
his vast proportions, and his bilious aspect, the mo- 
ment that the hauling up commenced, which in his 
case occupied some time. Portia was the more angry. 

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because she had thrown away her right to express any 
anger hy neutralizing my judicious interference. She 
grew even more angry, because I, though sorry for the 
Athenaeum, really could not help laughing when I 
saw the truculent old wretch expanding his huge 
dimensions — all umbered by time and ill-temper — 
under the eyes of the wondering young ladies; so 
mighty was the contrast between this sallow behemoth 
and a rose-colored little billet of their own. By the 
way. No. 2 had been a specimen of the dulcet dun, 
hreathing only zephyrs of request and persuasion ; but 
this No. 3 was a specimen of the polar opposite — the 
dun horrific and Gorgonian — blowing great guns of 
menace. As ideal specimens in their several classes, 
might they not have a value for the museum of the 
Athendeum, if it has one. Or even for the Album! 
This was my suggestion, but overruled, like everything 
else that I proposed ; and on the ground that Glasgow 
had too vast a conservatory of duns, native and indi- 
genous, to need any exotic specimens. This settled, 
we hurried to the next dip, which, being by contract 
the last, made us all nervous. 

No. 4. — This, alas ! turned out a lecture addressed 
to myself by an ultra-moral friend ; a lecture on pro- 
ctastination ; and not badly written. I feared that 
something of the sort was coming ; for, at the moment 
of dipping, I called out to the dipper — ' Starboard 
your helm ! you're going smack upon the Goodwins : 
in thirty seconds you'll founder.' Upon this, in an 
agony of fright, the dipper forged off, but evidently 
quite unaware that vast spurs stretched off from, the 
Goodwins — shoals and sand-banks — where it was 
mere destruction to sail without a special knowledge 

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272 soBTixsos oir behalv oy ths 

of the soundings. He had run upon an ethical sand- 
bank. * Yet, after all, since this is to be the last dip,' 
said Portia, * if the lecture is well written, might it 
not be acceptable to the Athenaeum ? ' ^ Possibly,' 1 
replied ; * but it is too personal, besides being founded 
in error from first to last. I could not allow myself 
to be advertised in a book as a {Ut>crastinator on prin* 
ciple, unless the Athenssum would add a postscript 
under its official seal, expressing entire disbelief of the 
accusation ; which I hare private reasons for thinking 
that the Athenseum may decline to do.' 

* WeU, then,' said Portia, * as you wilfully rob th6 
Athensum of No. 4, which by contract is the un-> 
doubted property of that body, in fSse simple and not 
in fee conditional,' (mark Portia's learning as an at- 
torney,) * then you are bound to give us a dth dip ; 
particularly as you've been so treacherous all along/ 
Tears rushed to my eyes at this most unjust assump- 
tion. In agonizing tones I cried out, * Potato-sack ! 
my friend Potato-sack ! will you quietly listen to this 
eharge upon me, that am as innocent as the diild un- 
born ? If it is a crime in me to know, and in you not 
to know, where the Goodwins lie, why then, let you 
and me sheer off to the other nde of the room, and 
let Portia try if she can do better. I allow her motion 
for a fresh trial. I grant a 5th dip : and the more 
readily, because it is an old saying — that there is 
luck in odd numbers : mmero dues vmpare gaudet ; *— 
only I must request of Portio to be the dipper on this 
final occasion.' All the three attorneys blushed a 
rosy red on this unexpected summons. It was one 
thing to criticize, but quite another thing to undertake 
the performance ; and the frdr attorneys trembled for 

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Gjjk9aaw ATBXirjivx^ 27S 

their professioiial reputatum. SecietiLy, hawever, I 
whispered to Potato^saok, * You'll see now, such is 
female address, that whatever sort of monster they 
haul up, they'll swear it's a great prize, and contrive 
to extract some use from it that may seem to justify 
this application for a new trial.' 

No. 5, — Awful and thrUling were tile doubts, fears, 
expectations of us all, when Portia ' prepared to dip,' 
and secondly ' dipped.' She .shifted her hand, and 
' ploitered ' amongst the papers for full five minutes, 
I winked at this in consideration of past misfortunes ; 
but, strictly speaking, she had no right to * ploiter ' for 
more than one minute. Slie contended that she knew, 
by intuition, the sort of paper upon which ' duns ' 
were written ; and whatever else might c(»ne up, she 
was resolved it should not be a dun. ' Don't be too 
sure,' I said ; and, a^ last, when she seemed to have 
settled her choice, I called out the usual word of com* 
mand, ^Haul up.' 

* What is it ?' we said ; * what's the prize ? ' we de- 
manded, all rushing up to Portia. Quess, reader ; -^ 
it^was a sheet of blank paper ! 

I, for my part, was afraid either to laugh or to cry. 
I really felt for Portia, and,^ at the same time, for the 
Athenaeum. Yet I had a monstrous desire to laugh 
horribly. But, bless you^ reader ! there was no call 
for pity to Portia. Witli the utmost coolnese shQ 
said, *0h! here is carte blanche for receiving your 
latest thoughts. This is the paper on which you are 
te write an essay for the Athenssiun ; and thus we are 
providentially enabled to assure pux client the Athe« 
naram of something expressly manufaoturtd for tiie 
ocosaian» and not an old wreck from the Qoodwins. 

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Fortune loves tlie Athensum ; and her four blanks at 
starting were only meant to tease that Institution, and 
to enhance the value of her final favor.' * Ah, in- 
deed ! ' I said in an under tone, ' meant to tease ! there 
are other ladies who understand that little science be- 
side Fortune ! ' However, there is no disobeying the 
commands of Portia ; so I sate down to write a paper 
on AsTBOLOGY. But, before beginning, I looked at 
Potato-sack, saying only, * You see : I told you what 
would happen.' 


As my contribution to their AVmm^ I will beg the 
Athenaeum to accept a single thought on this much- 
injured subject. Astrology I greatly respect ; but it 
is singidar that my respect for the science arose out of 
my contempt for its professors, — not exactly as a 
direct logical consequence, but as a casual suggestion 
from that contempt. I believe in astrology, but not 
in astrologers ; as to them I am an incorrigible infidel. 
First, let me state the occasion upon which my 
astrological thought arose ; and then, secondly, the 
thought itself. 

When about seventeen years old, I was wandering 
as a pedestrian tourist in North Wales. For some 
little Idme, the centre of my ramblings (upon which 
I still revolved from all my excursions, whether ellip- 
tical, circular, or zig-zag) was Llangollen in Denbigh- 
shire, or else Rhuabon, not more than a few miles 
distant. One morning I was told by a young married 
woman, at whose cottage I had received some kind 

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hospitalities, that an astrologer liyed in the neighbor- 
hood. * What might be his name ? * Very good Eng- 
lish it was that my young hostess had hitherto spoken ; 
and yet, in this instance, she chose to answer me in 
Welsh. Mochinahante^ was her brief reply. I dare 
say that my spelling of the word will not stand Welsh 
criticism ; but what can you expect from a man's first 
attempt at Welsh orthography ? I am sure that my 
toritten word reflects the vocal word which I heard — 
provided you pronounce the cA as a Celtic guttural ; 
and I can swear to three letters out of the twelve, viz. 
the first, the tenth, and the eleventh, as rigorously cor- 
rect. Pretty well, I think, that^ for a mere beginner 
— only seventy-five per cent, by possibility wrong ! 
But what did Mochinahante mean ? For a man might 
as well be anonymous, or call himself X Y Z, as offer 
one his visiting card indorsed with a name so frightful 
to look at — so shocking to utter — so agonizing to 
spell — as Mochinahante, And that it had a trans- 
latable meaning — that it was not a proper name but 
an appellative, in fact some playful sobriquet, I felt 
certain, from observing the young woman to smile 
whilst she uttered it. My next question drew from 
her — that this Pagan-looking monster of a name 
meant Pig-in-the'dingle. But really, now, between 
the original monster and this English interpretation, 
there was very little to choose ; in fact the interpreta- 
tion, as ofifen happens, strikes one as the harder to 
understand of the two. ' To be sure it does,' says a 
lady sitting at my elbow, and tormented by a passion 
so totally unfeminine as curiosity — * to be sure — very 
much harder ; for Mochina — what-do-yourcall-it 7 
might, you know, mean something or other, for any- 

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thing that you or I could say to the contrary ; ¥ut as 
to Pig'in-the'cUngle -» what dreadM nonsense ! what 
impossibly description of an astrologer ! A man that 
— let me see -» does something or other about the 
•tarn : how can he be described as a pig ? pig in any 
sense, you know — pig in any place ? But Pig-in-a* 
dingle ! — why, if he's a pig at all, he must be Pig" 
on-a'^eepky or Pig-on'the'top^of-arJdll, that he may 
rise above the mists and vapors. Now I insist, my 
dear creature, on your explaining all this riddle on the 
spot. You know it — you came to the end of ^» 
mystery ; but none of us that aite siting here can 
guess at the meaning ; we shall all be iH, if you keep 
lis waiting — I Ve a headach beginning already — - so 
say the thing at once, and put us out of torment ! ' 

What's to be done ? I must explain the thing to 
the AthensBum ; and if I stop to premise an oral ex* 
planation for the lady's separate use, there will be no 
time to save the Glasgow post, ^^lich waits for no 
man, and is deaf even to female outcries. By way of 
compromise, therefore, I request of the lady that she 
will follow my. pen with h«r radiant eyes, by which 
means she will obtain the earliest intelligence, and the 
speediest relief to her headack I, on my part, will 
not loiter, but will make my answer as near to a tele^ 
graphic answer, in point of ^peed, as a rigid metalHe 
pen will allow. -^ — I divide this answer mto two 
heads : the first concerning * «r tke dingle,^ the second 
concerning ' pig J My philosophic resear^es, and a 
visit to the astrologer, ascertained a pri^und reasea 
for describing him as tn-^^dingle; via. because he 
was in a dingle. He was the s^e occupant of a little 
cove amopgst the hilla— the sole-householdflor ; and 

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osAaaow jLTMrniU'Mim* 277 

m absolutriy sacli, that if erer any treason should bo 
hatched in the dinglo, dear it was to my mind that 
Mochinahante would be found at the bottom of it ; if 
&^rex war should be levied in this dingle, Mochmakante 
must be the sole belligerent ; and if a forced contribu- 
tion were ever imposed upon tiiis dingle, MochinaharUe 
(poor man !) must pay it all out of his own pocket. 
The lady internets me at this point to say — * Well, 
I understand all that — that's all yery dear. Bui 
what I want to knqw about is — JHg. Come to Pig^ 
Why Pig 7 How Pig7 In what s^se Pig $ You 
can't have any profound reason, you know^ for t]UU.* 

Yes I have ; a very profound reason ; and satisfao*- 
tory to tiie most sceptical of philosophers, viz. that ho 
was a Pig. I was presented by my fair hostess to the 
gxseat interpreter of the stars, in person ; for I was 
Mudous to make the acquaintance of an astrologer, 
and especially of one who, whilst owning to so rare a 
profession, owned also to the soft impeachment of so 
^(ecy significant a name. Having myself enjoyed so 
fitvorable an opportunity for investigating the reason* 
aUeness of that name^ MochinaharUe, as applied to tlM 
Benbighshire astrologer, I venture to pronounce it 
unimpeachable. About his dress there was a forlorn* 
nesa, and an andent tarnish or (srugOy which went tut 
to justify the name ; and upon his &ce there sate tiiat 
lugubrious rust (or what medallists teehnicsdly call 
patina) which bears so costly a value when it is found 
on. tiie coined &oe of a Syro-lVfocedonian prince long 
smoe oompoimded with dust, but, alas ! bears no value 
at all if found upon the fiesh-and-blood face of a living 
philosopher. Speaking hunumly, one would have in- 
sinuatBd that the star-gaser wanted much washing and 

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scouring ; but, astrologically speaking, perhaps I10 
would have been spoiled by earthly waters for his 
celestial vigils. 

Mochinahante was civil enough ; a pig is not neces- 
sarily rude ; and, after seating me in his chair of state, 
he prepared for his learned labors by cross-examina- 
tions as to the day and hour of my birth. The day I 
knew to a certainty ; and even about the hour I could 
tell quite as much as ought in reason to be expected 
from one who certainly had not been studying a chro- 
nometer when that event occurred. These points set- 
tled, the astrologer withdrew into an adjoining room, 
for the purpose (as he assured me) of scientifically con- 
structing my horoscope ; but unless the drawing of 
corks is a part of that process, I should myself incline 
to think that the great man, instead of minding my 
interests amongst the stars and investigating my horo- 
scope, had been seeking consolation for himself in 
bottled porter. Within half-an-hour he returned; 
looking more lugubrious than ever ; more grim ; 
more grimy (if grime yields any such adjective) ; a 
little more rusty ;^ rather more patinous, if niimisma- 
tists will lend me that word ; and a great deal more in 
want of scouring. He had a paper of di^igrams in his 
hand, which of course contained some short-hand 
memoranda upon my hoioscope ; but, from its smoki- 
ness, a malicious visitor might have argued a possibility 
that it had served for more customers than myself. Un- 
der his arm he carried a folio book, which (he said) was 
a manuscript of unspeakable antiquity. This he was 
jealous of my seeing ; and before he would open it, as 
if I and the book had been two prisoners at the bar 
suspected of meditating some collusive mischief (such 

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as tying a cracker to the judge's wig), lie separated us 
as widely from each other as the dimensions of the 
room allowed. These solemnities £nished, we were all 
ready — I, and the folio volume, and Pig-in-the-dingle 
— for our several parts in the play. Mochinahante 
began : — He opened the pleadings in a deprecatory 
tone, protesting, almost with tears, that if anything 
should turn out amiss in the forthcoming revelations, 
it was much against his will ; that he was power- 
less, and could not justly be held responsible for 
any part of the disagreeable message which it might 
be his unhappiness to deliver. I hastened to assure 
him that I was incapable of such injustice ; that I 
should hold the stars responsible for the whole ; by 
nature, that I was very forgiving ; that any little mal- 
ice, which I might harbor for a year or so, should all 
be reserved for the use of the particular constellations 
concerned in the plot against myself; and, lastly, that 
I was now quite ready to stand the worst of their 
thunders. Pig was pleased with this reasonableness ; 
he saw that he had to deal with a philosopher ; and, 
in a more cheerful tone, he now explained that my 
case was msystically contained in the diagrams ; these 
smoke-dried documents submitted, as it were, a series 
of questions to the book ; which book it was — a book 
of imspeakable antiquity — that gave the inflexible 
answers, like the gloomy oracle that it was. But I 
was not to be angry- with the book, any more than 
with himself, since ' Of course not,' I replied, in- 
terrupting him, * the book did but utter the soimds 
which were predetermined by the white and black 
keys struck in the smoky diagrams ; and I could 
no more be angry with the book for speaking what 

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38(1 soBTiLxam on B£RjLX.y of the 

it confd^itiously belieTed to be the truth than with 
a decanter of port wine» or a bottle of porter, for 
declining to yield more than one or tvro wine-glasses 
of the precious liquor at the moment when I was look* 
ing for a dozen, under a transient foxgetfulness, inci- 
dent to the greatest minds, that I myself, ten.minute^ 
before, had nearly drunk up the whole.' This com* 
panson, though to a critic wide awake it might have 
seemed slightly personal, met with the entire approba- 
tion of Pig'in'the-dingle. A better frame of mind 
fbx receiving disastrous news, he eyidentiy conceived, 
could not exist or be fancied by ih» mind of man 
than existed at that moment in myself. He was in a 
state of intense ^thos from the bottled porter. I waa 
m a state of intense excitement (pathos combined witih 
horror) at the prospect of a dreadful lecture on my 
fiituio life, now ready to be thundered into 'my oars 
fbom that huge folio of utieqpeakable antiquity, prompt^ 
ed by those wretdied smoke-dried diagrams. I be- 
lieye we were in magnetical rapport. Think of ^at,, 
ipeader! — Pig and I in maguetical import! Both 
making passes at each o&er ! What in the world 
would have bec€»ne of us if suddenly we ^K>uld have 
taken to somnambulizing ? Pig would have abandoned 
his dingle to me ; and I should have dismissed Pig to 
that life of wandering which must have betrayed the 
unscoured patinous condition of the astrploger to the 
astonished eyes of Cambria : — ^ ' 

< Stout Qlos'ter stood aghast [or might have stood] in speeohless 

2b armt ! oried Mortimer [or at least mig^ ^^ oried], tyMl 
conoh'd his qaiYering lance.' 

But Pig was a greater man than, ha seined. He 

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yielded neither to magnetigm nca to bottled p(nrter ^ 
but commenced reading from the black book in the 
most awful tone of voice, and, generally speaking, 
most correctly. Certainly be made one dreadful aiis- 
take ; be started from the very middle of a sentence, 
instead of the beginning; but then that bad a truly 
lyrical effect, and also it wma excused by tbe bottled 
porter. Tbe words of tbe prc^betic denuneiation^ 
from wbicb be started, were tbese-^'also be [tbat 
was myself you und^stand] sball baye red bair.' 
* T%ere goes a bounce,' I said in an under tone ; ' tbe 
stars it seema, can tell falsehoods as well as other 
people.' * Also,' for Pig went on without stopping, 
*be shall have seven-and- twenty-children.' Too bor-* 
ror-struck I was by this news to utter one word of 
protest against it. ' Also,' Pig ydled out at the top 
of his voice, * he shall des^t them.' Anger restored 
my voice, and I ened out, ^ That's not only a lie in 
the stars, but a libel ; and, if an action lay against a 
constellation, I should recover damages.' Vain it 
would be to trouble tbe reader with all tbe monstrous 
{^opbeeies that Pig read against me. He read with a 
steady Pythian fury. Dreadful was his voice : dread* 
lid were the starry charges against myself — tbinga 
that I was to do, things that I must do : dreadful was 
tbe wrath with which «ecretly I denounced all partici* 
pation in the acts which these wicked stars laid to my 
ebarge. But this infirmity of good nature besets me, 
that, if a man shows trust and absolute feiitb in any 
agent or agency whatever, heart there Is not in me to 
resist him, or to expose bis foUy. Pig trusted — oh 
how profoundly ! -^ in his black book of unspeakable 
an1i<|uity. It would have killed him on the spot to 

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prove that the black book was a hoax, and that he 
himself was another. Consequently, I submitted in 
silence to pass for the monster that Pig, under coer 
cion of the stars, had pronounced me, rather than part 
in anger from the solitary man, who after all was not 
to blame, acting only in a ministerial capacity, and 
reading only what the stars obliged him to read. I 
rose without saying one word, advanced to the table, 
and paid my fees ; for it is a disagreeable fact to 
record, that astrologers grant no credit, nor even dis- 
count upon prompt pa3rment. I shook hands with 
Mochinahante ; we exchanged kind farewells — he 
smiling benignly upon me, in total forgetfulness that 
he had just dismissed me to a life of storms and 
crimes ; I, in return, as the very best benediction that 
I could think of, saying secretly, ' Oh Pig, may the 
heavens rain their choicest soap-suds upon thee ! ' 

Emerging into the open air, I told my fair hostess 
of the red hair which the purblind astrologer had 
obtained for me from the stars, and which, with tJieir 
permission, I would make over to Mochinahante for a 
reversionary wig in his days of approaching baldness. 
But I said not one word upon that too bountiful 
allowance of children with which Moch. had endowed 
me. I retreated by nervous anticipation from that 
inextinguishable laughter which, I was too certain, 
would follow upon her part; and yet, when we 
reached the outlet of the dingle, and turned round to 
take a parting look of the astrological dwelling, I 
myself was overtaken by fits of laughter; for sud- 
denly I figured in vision my own future return to this 
mountain recess, with the young legion of twenty- 
•even children. ' I desert them, the darlings ! * I 

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exclaimed, * far from it ! Backed by this filial army, 
I shall feel myself equal to the task of taking ven- - 
geance on the stars for the affronts they have put upon 
me through Pig their servant. It will be like the 
return of the Heracleidae to the Peloponnesus. The 
sacred legion will storm the " dingle," whilst I storm 
Pig ; the rising generation will take military posses- 
sion of " 'inahante,'* whilst I deal with ^^ Moch'^ (which 
I presume to be the part in the long word answering 
to. Pig).' My hostess laughed in sympathy with my 
laughter; but I was cautious of letting her have a 
look into my vision of the sacred legion. We quitted 
the dingle for ever ; and so ended my first visit, being 
also my last, to an astrologer. 

This, reader, was the true general occasion of my 
one thought upon astrology ; and, before I mention it, 
I may add that the immediate impulse drawing my 
mind in any such direction was this : — On walking to 
the table where the astrologer sat, in order to pay my 
fees, naturally I came nearer to the folio book than 
sistrological prudence would generally have allowed. 
But Pig's attention was diverted for the moment to 
the silver coins laid before him; these he reviewed 
with the care reasonable in one so poor, and in a state 
of the coinage so neglected as it then was. By this mo- 
ment of avarice in Pig, I profited so far as to look over 
the astrologer's person, sitting and bending forward full 
upon the book. It was spread open, and at a glance I 
saw that it was no MS. but a printed book, printed in 
black-letter types. The month of August stood as 6 
rubric at the head of the broad margin ; and below it 
stood some days of that month in orderly succession. 
* So then, Pig,' said I in my thoughts, * it seems that 

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any person wliatever, bom on any particnlar day and 
hour of August, is to have the same exact fate as my- 
self. But a king and a beggar may chance thus far to 
agree. And be you assured. Pig, that all the infinite 
Tariety of cases lying between these two termini differ 
from each other in fortunes and incidents of life as 
much, though not so notoriously, as king and beggar.' 

Hence arose a confirmation of my contempt for 
astrology. It seemed as if neettsarily false— false by 
an d priori principle, viz. that the possiMe differences 
in human fortunes, which are infinite, cannot be 
measured by the possible differences in the particular 
moments of birth, which are too strikingly finite. It 
strengthened me in this way of blinking, that subse- 
quently I found the yery same objection in Macrobius. 
Macrobius may have stolen the idea ; but oertaiuly not 
from me — as certainly I did not steal it from him ; so 
that here is a concurrence of two people independently, 
one of them a great philosopher, in the y^ same 
annihilating objection. 

Now comes my one thought. Both of us w^re 
wrong, Macrobius and myselfl Even the great phi- 
losopher is obliged to confess it. The objection truly 
valued is — to astrologers, not to astrology. No two 
events ever did coincide in point of time. Every 
event has, and must have, a certain duration; this 
you may call its breadth ; and the true loom of the 
event in time is the central point of that breadth, 
which never was or will be the same for any two 
separate events, though groscdy held io be eontempo- 
mneous. It is the mere imperfection of our human 
means for chasing the infinite subdivisibilities of time 
which causes us to regard two events as even by possi- 

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bility conourring in their oentral moments. This im- 
perfection is crushing to the pretensions of astrologers ; 
but astrology laughs at it in the heavens ; and astrol- 
ogy, armed with celestial chronometers, is true ! 

Suffer me to illustrate the case a little : * — It is raro 
that a metaphysical difficulty can be made as clear as a 
pikestaff. This can. Suppose two erents to occur in 
the same quarter of a minute -* that is, in the same 
fifteen seconds ; then, if they started preds^y together, 
and ended precisely together, they would not only havo 
the same breadth, but this breadth would accurately 
coincide in all its parts or fluxions ; consequently, the 
central moment, viz., the 8lh, would coincide rigorously 
with the centre of eiwh event. But, suppose that one 
of the two events, A for instance, commenced a single 
second before B the other, then, as we are still suppos- 
ing them to have the same breadth or extension, A 
will have ended in the second before B ends; and^ 
consequently, the centres will be different, for the 8th 
second of A will be the 7th of B. The disks of iha 
two events will overlap — A will overlap B at the 
beginning ; B will overlap A at the end. Now, go on 
to assume that, in a particular case, this overlapping 
does not take place, but that the two events eclipse 
each other, lying as truly surface to. surface as two 
sovereigns in a tight rouleau of sovereigns, or one 
dessert-spoon nestling in the bosom of another; in 
that case, the 8th or central second will be the centre 
for both. But even here a question will arise as to 
the degree of rigor in the coincidence ; for divide that 
8th second into a thousand parts or sub-moments, and 
perhaps the centre of A will be found to hit the 450th 
Bub-moment, whilst ^t of B may hit ihe 600th« Or 

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suppose, again, CTen tbis trial surmoimted : tlie two 
harmonious creatures, A and B, running neck and 
neck together, have- both hit simultaneously the true 
centre of the thousand sub-moments which lies half- 
way between the 500th and the 501st. All is right 
so far — 'all right behind ; ' but go on, if you please; 
subdivide this last centre, which we will call X, into 
a thousand lesser fractions. Take, in fact, a railway 
express- crain of decimal fractions, and give chase to A 
and B ; my word for it that you will come up with 
them in some stage or other of the journey, and arrest 
them in the very act of separating their centres — 
which is a dreadful crime in the eye of astrology ; for, 
it is utterly impossible that the initial moment, or sub' 
moment, or sub-suh-moment of A and B should abso- . 
lutely coincide. Such a thing as a perfect start was 
never heard of at Doncaster. Now, this severe accu- 
racy is not wanted on earth. Archimedes, it is well 
known, never saw a perfect circle, nor even, with his 
leave, a decent circle ; for, doubtless, the reader knows 
the following fact,' viz., that, if you take the most per- 
fect Vandyking ever cut out of paper or silk, by the 
most delicate of female fingers, with the most exquisite 
of Salisbury scissors, upon viewing it through a mi- 
croscope you will find the edges frightfully ragged; 
1)ut, if you apply the same microscope to one of God's 
Vandyking on the corolla or calyx of a flower, you 
will find it as truly cut and as smooth as a moonbeam. 
We on earth, I repeat, need no such rigorous truth. 
For instance, you and I, my reader, want little perhaps 
with circles, except now and then to bore one with an 
augre in a ship's bottom, when we wish to sink her 
and to cheat the underwriters ; or, by way of variety. 

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GLi.8G0W l^THENJEtTM. 287 

to cut one witli a centre-bit through shop-shutters, in 
order to rob a jeweller; — so we don*t care much 
whether the circumference is ragged or not. But that 
won't do for a constellation ! The stars rCeniendtni 
pas la raillerie on the subject of geometry. The pen- 
dulum of the starry heavens oscillates truly ; and if 
the Greenwich time of the Empyreum can't be repeated 
upon earth, without an error, a horoscope is as much a 
chimera as the perpetual motion, or as an agreeable 
income-tax. In fact, in casting a nativity, to swerve 
from the true centre by the tnllionth of a centillionth 
is as fatal as to leave room for a coach and six to turn 
between your pistol shot and the bull's eye. If you 
haven't done the trick, no matter how near you've 
come to it. And to overlook this, is as absurd as was 
the answer of that Lieutenant M., who, being asked 
whether he had any connection with another officer of 
the same name, replied — ' Oh yes ! a very close one.' 
* But in what way ? ' ' Why, you see, I'm in the 50th 
regiment of foot, and he's in the 49th : ' walking, in 
fact, just behind him ! Yet, for all this, horoscopes 
may be calculated very truly by the stars amongst 
themselves; and my conviction is — that they are. 
'They are perhaps even printed hieroglyphically, and 
published as regularly as a nautical almanac; only, 
they cannot be re-published upon earth by any mode 
of piracy yet discovered amongst sublunary book- 
sellers. Astrology, in fact, is a very profound, or at 
least a very lofty science; but astrologers are hum- 

I have finished, and I am vain of my work ; for I 
have accomplished three considerable things : — I 
have floored Macrobius; I have cured a lady of her 

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headache; and lastly, which is best of all, I have ex- 
pressed my sincere interest in the prosperity of tiie 
Glasgow Athenaeum. 

But the Glasgow post is mounting, and this paper 
will be lost ; a fitct which, amongst all the dangers 
besetting me in this life, the wretched Pig forgot to 
warn me of. 

F8B.24, 1848 

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Please note the reduction in prices. No further 
reduction ufiU be made during the present year. 

124 Svemont &U 3^ftoii» 
Sbptembbb, 1865. 

A List of Books 



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Mrs. Jameson's Works. 10 vols. Sold in sets or separately. 
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In. Ulustrated 'Vol-uxaes. 

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Sydney DoheU's Poems. $ 1.25. 

Botoring's Matins and Vespers. $ 1.25. 

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Horace. Translated by Theodore Martin. $1.25. 

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Mrs. Jameson's Diary. $ 1.25. 

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Taylor's Philip Van A rtevelde. $1.25. 

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